Public libraries and resilient cities edited by Michael Dudley (American Library Association, 2013).
This book explores “the roles that public libraries can play in the promotion of ecologically, economically, and socially resilient communities in challenging times.” Each chapter tells the story of a public library in the U.S. or Canada which went beyond providing access to books and information to addressing an unmet community need. These needs ranged from childcare for government workers after a hurricane and a summer feeding program for poor children, to targeted literacy and technology training programs, to public gardens and programming for the homeless and socially excluded. This book also demonstrates that even without any specific programs, the public library provides a public place for democracy to flourish in an increasingly privatized world, and can model ways to build or renovate using environmentally friendly practices. Michael Dudley, a librarian and urban planner, makes a great case for public libraries to be active participants in the Transition Town movement which promotes local resiliency in the face of climate change and peak oil.