One year ago this week, I was staring up at my dentist’s eyes hoping the stories about a deadly virus were exaggerated. The next day, worried we might be putting people at risk, I interviewed poet Willie Perdomo before a small audience in Washington. That turned out to be the last live event the Library of Congress sponsored before the coronavirus shut the city down.

But the extraordinarily horrible year the world has endured revealed some extraordinarily encouraging things about the world of books: