In the age of the internet, it's understandable to wonder what function, if any, our libraries still serve. But the shifting needs of the communities they cater to, and widening holes in the social safety net, have actually made these institutions more essential than ever.
As homelessness and mental health crises have spiked, libraries and the people who work inside them have become de facto social workers, sometimes tasked with everything from finding shelter beds to administering naloxone.
While the work they do is inspiring, is this really a viable way to approach the problems in towns and cities across the country? And are librarians equipped to deal with what has become an entirely different job?
GUEST: Nicholas Hune-Brown, writing in The Walrus