A visual exploration of how a critical piece of social infrastructure came to be.

Editor’s note: CityLab’s visual storyteller Ariel Aberg-Riger shares the story of how America’s public libraries came to be, and their uneven history of serving all who need them.

Further Reading:

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    What Happens When a City Tries to End Traffic Deaths

    Several years into a ten-year “Vision Zero” target, some cities that took on a radical safety challenge are seeing traffic fatalities go up.

  2. photo: a WeWork office
    Equity

    For Many WeWork Employees, the Job Is About to Change

    The co-working giant is letting 2,400 employees go and outsourcing 1,000 cleaning and facilities jobs as part of a company-wide belt-tightening.

  3. photo: downtown Cincinnati
    Equity

    Cincinnati’s Bid to Make Renting More Affordable

    A bill introduced in the Ohio city would make it the first in the nation to require landlords to offer alternatives to cash security deposits.

  4. photo: rooftops in Paris, France
    Life

    Airbnb’s Olympic Sponsorship Deal Isn’t Playing Well in Paris

    The home-rental company inked a massive deal to sponsor the Olympics until 2028—over fierce objections from the host city for the 2024 Games.

  5. Equity

    What New Research Shows About Ride-Hail Racism

    A new study finds that changes ride-hail companies have made to prevent discrimination by drivers can prolong the time people of color wait for a ride.

×