"The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary," Conrad wrote. "Men alone are quite capable of every wickedness."
Men were bad, incorrigibly so, Sully knew. The specimens lurking in the library lobby, adoze in chairs and at tables, groping in the stacks and jerking off in the stalls, surfing the Internet for God knew what, plotting their hijacks and heists, were wholly representative of the populace at large. Mischief on their minds, malice in their hearts. Malevolence. Here the accumulated wisdom of the world, the exalted ideas of great men and women, published for posterity and arrayed on row after row of shelves, could not avail against its palpable presence. Or so it seemed to Sully. The malingerers, the thieves, the drug and smut addicts, the would-be arsonists, the insane, the prostitutes and pimps, all dressed up with nowhere to go. Except the library. A malignancy. Twitching, festering. A moiling mob. Where did they all come from? -- Chapter 16, The Misforgotten.