This is the free, Sunday edition of Culture Study — the newsletter from Anne Helen Petersen, which you can read about here. If you like it and want more like it in your inbox, consider subscribing. In a recent piece for the New York Times, sociologist Eric Klinenberg makes the case that libraries just might be able to save the 2020 election. In short: many Americans in states where mail-in voting is not the norm are distrustful about the mail-in and drop-off process. So why not insert some trust back into the process by making libraries a primary ballot receptacle? As Klinenberg writes:
Thank you so much for writing about this concept and bringing it to a wider audience. I'm a librarian, and the end of the day my job is a job and I work hard to keep it separate from my entire being. I see many in the profession fall into this thinking that the library will be the savior of [fill in the blank] and frankly it's exhausting. Slap the pandemic on top of what was already there and the profession is now a morale killer and depending on where one is life-threatening. "We must be open and prove our worth!" Staff be damned. I'm fortunate I work for a large two-county system (just south of your WA island hangout) that is treating staff mostly good through all of this, and is not rushing to open buildings too soon. We do have staff at some libraries who seem willing to offer themselves (and others) up to do almost anything, based upon comments submitted during the early days of the pandemic.
If libraries keep stepping in to fill the gaps, nobody will try to fix them properly.
“Vocational awe”—what a wonderful term. It makes sense of a lot of careers I've been in that are viewed as callings, and underpaid and abused accordingly. Because, don't you love it? Isn't God calling you to it? Don't you support our mission? We're a non-profit! Think of the children!
I get a 404 error on this link - Why Medieval Cats Look Like….That
Thank you for this interesting piece! Would you be willing to clarify your policy about using affiliate links for books mentioned in these posts? I noticed that your bio links to Bookshop.com, but "Palaces for the People" here in an Amazon link. (I am newly aware of affiliate links everywhere as I try to go Amazon-free...)