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janet clark writes \"In case you missed this (as I did) when the book was first published: Public libraries, ladybugs, pad Thai, and the clothesline are among \'Seven Wonders\' written about by John C. Ryan in _Seven wonders: everyday things for a healthier planet_, Sierra Club, c1999, 1-57805-038-3. \"Nobody ever built a library to save an endangered species, but that\'s one of things libraries do best,\" says Ryan in his essay in praise of public libraries. The essay includes several useful (citable) statistics and provides another angle on the value of libraries.
You can find out about the book at northwestwatch.org, though the public library essay doesn\'t seem to be there.