Libraries are buildings specifically designed for collecting books and other publications, such as magazines, newspapers, and graphic novels. These books may be lent to customers for free; the cost of acquiring printed materials, as well as constructing the libraries themselves, and employing librarians, is paid for by the public fund.
The first library was built in Pritt in LY 392, two years after the invention of the printing press, by Talon. The idea for libraries came from Lewis of Pritt, who was at the time the chairman of the Experimental Linguists' Club. It had been in 390 that Lewis conceived of compiling a dictionary, full of all the known words and their definitions. Both "dictionary" and "library" were subwords from Earth. It was after completing the first dictionary on The Land that Lewis and the ELC began work on the first library. At first (and for centuries to come), books would be rented to anyone who wanted to borrow them from the library, though it was free to read them within the library itself. The rental fee for books was fairly inexpensive, and much more affordable to the general public than actually buying books for themselves. And so, libraries became quite popular, and it soon became apparent that once the initial investment of the ELC had been recouped, it would actually go on to turn a profit. This success soon led to other villages to build their own libraries, using their local public funds (unlike the library in Pritt, which was owned by the ELC itself).
In 904, two years after the establishment of the tax law, it was announced that from that point on, village councils would use their public funds to maintain libraries and pay librarians; therefore, books would no longer be rented out but rather lent out free of charge, which led to a resurgence in the popularity of libraries. However, it should be noted that while books can be borrowed, other publications (including those listed at the start of this article, as well as ELC newsletters) have never been lent out, and must be read within the library. This rule has not changed since the tax law.
In 901 (or in rare cases as early as 900), Sorreters began selling some spell devices to the general public, though at the time they were so expensive that they could only be afforded by the upper class (a concept which didn't officially exist until 902). However, fairly early on, many libraries began acquiring some recording bubbles which could be used to play audio or visual recordings. At first these could only be used within the library, for fear of their being stolen due to their high value. But when prices on such items dropped in 905 so that many more people could afford to buy their own, such devices also came to be lent out for free, just like books. Another type of magical service which was offered by libraries, starting in 914, was use of PA booths to access the Sylph Swarm. (There are even now many people who don't own their own home-PA bubbles, and can only obtain access at libraries.)