This is one of the paragraphs in the middle of this article, but it is the one that struck me the most in speaking to the role of the library. It reinforces the role libraries play in our lives especially in times of hardship. Follow the link for the whole article.
Greene might seem a surprising choice, but then what people choose to read in extremis often is. In London during the Second World War, some authorities established small collections of books in air-raid shelters. The unused Tube station at Bethnal Green had a library of 4,000 volumes and a nightly clientele of 6,000 people. And what those wartime readers chose were not practical how-to manuals on sewing or home repairs, but philosophy. Plato and his Republic experienced a sudden surge in popularity, as did Schopenhauer, Bertrand Russell, Bunyan and Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy.