Libraries are treasuries for literary works. But are they on-topic at Lit.SE?

I think good questions about libraries can be asked:

  • What is the largest library in Europe?

  • How do libraries store rare or valuable books?

  • Where did [Collection X] from [Library Y] go when the library was closed down?

Does this fall within our site scope, or is this too distant from our core concept?

  • I like the second and third Qs, but the first one... meh.
    – muru
    Feb 22, 2017 at 8:56
  • @muru : It's the kind of question I probably wouldn't upvote, but: would I vote to close it as being off-topic?
    – Standback
    Feb 22, 2017 at 9:05
  • IMO, questions about libraries as they relate to the books should be on topic; otherwise, not. That means your first one would be off topic, the other two on.
    – Mithical Mod
    Feb 22, 2017 at 10:14
  • @Mithrandir : Just to clarify the point, what would you think of Which library in Europe has the most books ?
    – Standback
    Feb 22, 2017 at 10:16
  • That's hard. Probably off topic, as that's more about the building than the content, but... That's a hard one.
    – Mithical Mod
    Feb 22, 2017 at 10:17
  • And, I'll state this plainly: the reason I think this is a question worth considering, is precisely because it's hard for me to see a clear line between "This question about libraries is about literature, this one isn't." I suspect -- although I might certainly be wrong -- that we're going to need to take libraries or leave 'em pretty much as a whole.
    – Standback
    Feb 22, 2017 at 10:19
  • 1
    The second and third questions deal with the effects of libraries on literature... But how does a library being the largest or having the most books matter to literature?
    – muru
    Feb 22, 2017 at 13:04
  • 1
    @muru : How does the storage procedure or location of books matter to literature?
    – Standback
    Feb 22, 2017 at 13:17
  • @Standback the storage procedure and location matters in protection against loss of literature.
    – muru
    Feb 22, 2017 at 13:18
  • There is now a Libraries and Information Science proposal, as shared by Mithrandir. Apr 20, 2017 at 12:15

1 Answer 1


I think they should be on-topic.

Libraries are an important part of the literature community as they provide access to the public of the works we love. I'm sure many experts of literature have spent a good deal of time in libraries. I also do not see a current SE Site where they would be on-topic, so here is a good a place to attract new users with new questions that they may not been able to ask elsewhere. (As I typed that out, I realized there may be some overlap with Academia depending on what their scope is.)

To address your specific example questions:

  1. On-topic, but would might be downvoted as a lack of research (Google bring up a one-box when you search).
  2. On-topic, but has a slight possibility to be too broad. Although, I'm sure there are some accepted ways that could make a good answer.
  3. On-topic, and I see no issues with it.
  • 5
    "I also do not see a current SE Site where they would be on-topic, so here is a good a place as any." That doesn't seem like a good argument for a scope discussion, but otherwise I agree with your answer. Feb 22, 2017 at 21:00

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