Corliss wondered what happens to a book that sits unread on a library shelf for thirty years. Can a book rightfully be called a book if it never gets read?…
“How many books never get checked out,” Corliss asked the librarian.
“Most of them,” she said.
Corliss never once considered the fate of library books. She loved books. How could she not worry about the unread? She felt like a disorganized scholar, an abusive mother, and a cowardly soldier.
“Are you serious?” Corliss asked. “What are we talking about here? If you were guessing, what is the percentage of books in this library that never get checked out?”
“We’re talking sixty percent of them. Seriously. Maybe seventy percent. And I’m being optimistic. It’s probably more like eighty or ninety percent. This isn’t a library, it’s an orphanage.”
―Sherman Alexie, Ten Little Indians