Do we want our libraries transformed?
Apr 17, 2014
10:43 AM EDT
|I find this article very disturbing. It claims "Public libraries are reinventing themselves". I think it should be asked, firstly, why are they reinventing themselves, and secondly, is this what we want of our libraries.
The first question, I really don't know the answer to. Is the library profession becoming bored with their vocation? Do they think books are becoming obsolete? Are they not getting the funding they think they deserve and so figure they need to expand their role to gain financial resources?
I don't think it's books. We have a little private library of escapist fiction that is growing exponentially. I think more books are tossed than filed. I also know this to be the case of my last library. When I moved, I musta given them 3 dozen books, most non-fiction. I know for a fact they sold more books than they kept. I suspect it's a case of mismanagement. Perhaps not from within the library.
Where I live now, we have a nice little library for a town of 2-3K pop. In fact, it's ridiculously over funded. The building is almost brand new. It's modern, architecturally pleasing, beautifully appointed, etc. Problem is, it's book collection is pathetic. I've got a bigger computer book collection than it does, and mine is nothing to brag on. What is this library for? Seems like more of a public showpiece than a public benefit.
The second question is easier to answer. I do NOT want my library "reinventing" itself. I've been a rabid library user for 60 yrs. I like reading books I can get for free. If I like 'em, I'll buy a copy for myself. When I was going to school, the fact I lived across the street from our public library was not lost on me. I used the reference section all the time. Perhaps that's the problem. Now, with the internet, a reference section is almost pointless. Everyone with an internet hook-up has their own reference section. OTOH, I still have 2-3 books a week checked out from the library. With library sharing, I can order books from all over the state.
Besides, what happens when these libraries "reinvent" themselves? How long is this donate mentality going to last? What are they gonna do when donating is not enough? I'm thinking they're going to begin charging fees. Last I looked, we already have those. They're called community colleges and trade schools.
To quote Mr Horse in Ren and Stimpy, "Nope, I don't like it .....I don't like it one bit". ;)
Apr 17, 2014
11:01 AM EDT
|Our libraries in Scotland have always been really good.
The books may be a little out of date but they have a good computer suite and have libraries not just of books but DVDs, CDs, MP3s, audio books, etc.
Our library even has Costa coffee now. It makes for a very pleasant environment.
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