"The Library of Babel" takes us to the brink of death – not only of the main character, but of the entire human race. The narrator, an elderly librarian whose sight is failing him, writes in order to distract himself from the mass suicides and violent murders taking place throughout the Library. What brought on this apocalypse? Well, everybody's feeling really angry and angsty about not being able to find any meaning in the universe. The apocalyptic scenario forces us to consider what the Library will be like without human life – will its eternal series of books have any significance without people to interpret it?
The leading cause of death in the Library isn't famine or disease – it's philosophy. People kill each other and themselves over ideas that they formulate about the nature of the Library.
Death in the Library forces us to consider what the Library will be like without human life. The apocalyptic setting, with the human race on the verge of extinction, reminds us that without interpreters, the Library itself is a meaningless abstraction.