Blaine Harden

Blaine Harden: 'There are a lot of incendiary ideas you can find in libraries'

"If I wanted culture outside of my house, the library was really the only place to go. And I would very often go.

I grew up in a small town in Washington state and there just wasn't much culture there at all.

And if I wanted culture outside of my house, it [the library] was really the only place to go. And I would very often go. In the two small towns I'm from Montlake Lake and Aberdeen...Even when I became a young adult, I would be visiting my parents from my job on the East Coast, I would got to the library almost every day in these towns, because that's the only place where I could find interesting stuff to think about.

Well, I live in Seattle, the Seattle system is just terrific. You can get virtually any book and itwill be sent in a couple of days to my local branch, which is Montlake,or I can download books...e-books, which I do. It saves me alot of money.

The book I just read from my library is about Lawrence of Arabia. It's actually a biography called "Hero,"and it is just a fantastic adventure.

[On library budget cuts]

I'm against them, and I vote for library levies when they come around, but so do the people of Seattle; they support the libraries pretty well...As I say, it's a fantastic system.

[On censorship]

Well, I'm against that. I'm the author of a book about the country of North Korea...that bans all books, basically, except for those that they find are good for the regime. People there have been sheltered, curtained off from the rest of the world forover half a century and a good library is something that would, in many ways,  destroy that regime.There are a lot of incendiary ideas you can find in libraries.

I'm using libraries for... I'm doing another book about  North Korea, and I'm doing a lot of library research,which is part of it. I use the University of Washington Library and the Seattle Public Library to get some of the stuff that I need. 

Creative Commons LicenseAll author videos are available for use under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license. We encourage libraries and library supporters to reuse this content and ask only that you provide a link back to the website. To request a copy of an author video contact the ALA Office for Library Advocacy at

Library Name: 

Seattle Public Library