New York Public Library has already given up on its redesign plan which this post from Atlas Obscura refers to. Most of the places they illustrate are handsome, and the sort of place anyone would love to sit in and read.

I once was a member of the Mercantile Library on 47th Street, during the last century before it morphed into the Center for Fiction. The need for private, subscription libraries may be in questioned in this century, especially given New York Public Library’s scope, though of course the uncertain future of the book trade may alter the equation some day. And of course, as long as people sign up, they remain viable. I didn’t remain a member for very long — if I could only get through the mass of books in my apartment . . .

One of the illustrations is of a little free library — there seem to be more and more of these around the city since my earlier post. They seem to be working: in other words people are not just using them as sites at which you can “steal” a book — they are replenishing too (the rule being, if you take a book out, you put another one in).