Communities are being linked together—and linked to the outside world—by wires, cables, and fiber optics, but in many places it is the public library that stands as the real information nexus within the community. Public libraries became ubiquitous features of the American landscape when Andrew Carnegie donated money to thousands of communities to construct library buildings throughout the country in the last years of the nineteenth century and the first fifteen years of the twentieth century. Carnegie believed access to books and education would provide opportunities for motivated workers to improve their minds and, in the process, their economic conditions. Public libraries traditionally have assumed roles that made sense for the local community. The history of public libraries suggests that something more than a reliance on the world of information available through the Internet will be required and that the costs of providing information cannot simply be transferred to the black hole of cyberspace.