From The Nation, there is Upheaval at the New York Public Library, by Scott Sherman. Clearly the NYPL has it's own unique set of issues, but it made me think about the struggle over what a public library should be: a quiet temple of learning, (the traditional idea), or a lively community center with mass appeal.
Sherman catalogs the budgeting woes of public libraries in general. It is in the interest of library directors to increase the door count and circulation numbers. They are an index of community support. Our own library system has done comparatively well in recent years by welcoming all comers: doing away with the no-food policy, offering free printing from public computers, allowing cell-phone use, building a large DVD and audio book collection.
Inevitably, perhaps, the pendulum swung too far. Quiet areas are now more rigorously enforced, those with hot meals are asked to eat them elsewhere, and free printing may be limited in the near future.
From The New Criterion, Commune plus one: On Occupy Wall Street & the legacy of the Paris Commune, by James Panero, makes a doleful connection that I have not seen elsewhere, but which seems obvious once it is made.