it was supposed to be about fantastic libraries, but got off on the topic of real libraries, and their wonderfulness, and their especial importance to the poor, and accessibility, and the wonders of open stakes and finding books on the shelves on the way to find the book that you were after, and how the loss of the card catalog meant some losses of accidents and serendipity right there. . . .
Plus the book as a story to read vs. the book as an artifact to hold
A topic on which any group of fen can hold forth for long times, so it went on, but someone dragged it back and we brought up lots of libraries. The Unseen University's, with the Librarian, and books that . Borges's Library of Babel. The one that Ged found at the school in A Wizard of Earthsea. The library at Alexandria. The Beast's in Robin McKinley's Beauty (which I think would be the most fun to actually visit, since the others are a bit specialized in purpose.