In Depth

One for the books: the unlikely renaissance of libraries in the digital age

By Jane Cadzow
Updated October 2 2019 - 10:18am, first published 7:59am
Australians make about 114 million visits to public libraries each year. Photo: Jennifer Soo

With the rise of the internet, public libraries were supposed to be on borrowed time. But they're thriving - their renaissance as much about community as the literary riches they contain. It's enough to make you Dewey-eyed.

Don Royce had an exceptionally happy marriage. "I was the luckiest person I knew," says the 72-year-old former school principal. When his wife, Laura, died in 2016, Royce felt as if the ground had gone from beneath his feet: "We had been together for nearly 50 years, and suddenly my life ... It was like I went over a cliff." What saved him, or at least cushioned his fall, was his local library.

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