American Public Libraries: A Visual History

February 20, 2019

Public libraries remain our country’s greatest democratic institutions, but it took generations of work and social progress to get them to their current place as beacons to their communities. CityLab presents a visual exploration of how a critical piece of social infrastructure came to be, illustrated by Ariel Aberg-Riger. The striking images chart the institution’s growth from being spaces “accessed almost exclusively by wealthy white men” to “one of the last free spaces in our country that openly cater to the needs of toddlers, teens, old people, new parents, students, and the homeless.”

Image credit: CityLab

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).

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