Photographer Robert Dawson Documents Public Libraries

By Dianna Dilworth 

At a time when attendance is down at public libraries, it’s important to remember the role that they play in communities.

Photographer Robert Dawson has recognized the importance these centers play across the United States in a photography project that documents public libraries from coast to coast. The Library of Congress recently purchased Dawson’s complete collection. Many of the photos are a part of his 2014 book, The Public Library: A Photographic EssayCityLab has more:

Dawson says he was also struck by the pride and value almost everyone he met seemed to place on their libraries, no matter where they were. “I’m as cynical as anyone, but visiting these libraries, I really found that most people have more in common than not,” he says. “They go to work, work hard, love their families, and love their communities. There’s a lot that we share, and the public library is another one of those things.”