Libraries have rushed forward into the new age (whichever one we're in now) and the word ''librarian'' is out. They're information professionals now, and it's a media resource center, and it's wired to the max. Just as we novelists have become experiential document specialists producing sensory data-based narratives encoded in a symbolic format that informally we refer to as English.
My old hometown Carnegie library with the columns and high-domed ceiling was irreplaceable, and so of course it was torn down by vandals in suits and ties and replaced with a low, warehouse-looking library that says so clearly to its patrons: ''Don't get any big ideas. This is as good a library as you clowns deserve.''
In an age when people seem to favor acidic sarcasm and blistering criticism--and talk show hosts and columnists on the right and left poison the public airwaves with vicious lies and dangerous extremism--Keillor stands out for making his points with gentle humor and thoughtful commentary. One more example:
The other day, Mr. Giuliani came out against ''putting government in a situation where government is in charge of so many different things'' and a short time later he called for the government to build a fence the length of the Mexican border, ''a technological fence,'' which I guess means something fancier than a mud fence, possibly using kryptonite.
Can you imagine hearing something like that from the typical radio talk show host? Nope, me neither.