During World War II when the future of democracy was uncertain, Franklin D. Roosevelt described libraries as the great symbols of the freedom of the mind, essential to the functioning of a democratic society. Kranich begins this new collection of essays with Roosevelt's sentiment in mind. From Librarian of Congress, James Billington, to founding director of the Center for the Book, John Cole, the leading-edge information specialists of the day share their insights on the role libraries play in advancing democracy. One of the few institutions in the world where people have free access to information and thereby the opportunity to participate in all aspects of society, the American library truly is a symbol of democracy. In this work, prominent contributors from all sides of the profession (including a community outreach activist on libraries in impoverished communities and an information policy scholar whose research for the FCC led to official recognition of the digital divide) tackle hot button issues.