There was talk during the Bush administration of examining library records. Librarians were right to resist such inquiries on the grounds that such a intrusion in the civil liberties of readers would endanger the ability for free discussion of ideas. However, some part of me wished to see the results of an exhaustive survey of what people were reading from libraries. Which books were reserved, by whom, and how often. This is the kind of data that would speak volumes about our culture. Only recently has such information even been theoretically available. And yet, of course we should not look at such data. Though I like to sometimes imagine that the Librarians of the world know exactly what we are reading and thus know who we are, or worse, who we would like to be.
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