We started this blog to show folks that it is possible to build a private library without the benefit of much money. Our 85 posts to date have focused on numerous tips and strategies for doing this--everything from publishers' clearance sales to contrarian book collecting.
But we have never, ever lost sight of the fact that our ability to build such a library is something that we in the West very much take for granted. Elsewhere in the world, even proposing to build a private library could land us in jail, get us tortured, get us killed. Ideas are a powerful force, and if History has taught us anything, it is that some folks prefer their ideas to everyone else's ideas. Which is why History is awash with the debris of all kinds of libraries:
As media production worldwide becomes concentrated in fewer and fewer corporate hands, and as institutional libraries around the world fall prey to economic woes and neglect benign or otherwise, private libraries may well be the last best hope for survival of ideas of all types. The more private libraries, the greater (hopefully) the diversity of ideas that survive. And the harder it is to wipe 'em all out.
Tomorrow, we begin a series of posts on some of the ideas that have survived ages past, and their modern availability in book form....