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From Atlas Obscura:
“When the writer Deborah Fallows toured smaller and midsize communities in the United States in 2016, she made sure to make the same stop in every city and town: the local public library. Libraries were never just plain old book-lenders, she learned, and they certainly aren’t now. Most provide residents with internet access, educational opportunities, and even refuge during times of meteorological or civic crisis. They use their archives to hold onto local history, and their programming and decor to reflect a vision of the future.
A town or city’s Main Street or Chamber of Commerce reveals its body politic, writes Fallows, but “the visit to the public library reveal[s] its heart and soul.” These days, many of these hearts and souls are full of unexpected stuff—including stuff that, if you want, you can take home with you for a few weeks. In the spirit of civic introspection, here are some of America’s most surprising current circulating collections, from art to umbrellas.”
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