With no electricity except via solar or battery power, there is no more internet. Books serve as entertainment and are the only way to do research on the critical issues of survival.
The Librarians live in the main branch of the public library and when they can, they make sure to acquire or destroy the collections of bookstores and other city libraries. In addition to having armed guards, they’ve wired the entire building for detonation (using plans from a book), should anyone try to attack and take over.
The process of borrowing a book is byzantine (a word the Librarians will happily look up for you if you provide suitable payment). First, you must pass muster with the guards. If they know you or if you’re with a group that has a reputation for fair dealing, you’ll be allowed to approach the circulation desk, where a clerk will examine your trade goods and give you an estimate.
Next, you’ll be given a guide who will take you through the stacks to find your books. Silence is strictly enforced. Your guide will have a flashlight, of course, and has earned her Librarian credentials by memorizing call letters.
Once you have your books, you’ll return to the circulation desk where a clerk will examine the titles you’ve chosen and make you a final offer. If you return your books within a week you’ll get a portion of your trade goods back. The rest of the goods are kept as a fee.
Some operation, indeed!