Alchemical Thoughts

The need for libraries?

Posted on: December 14, 2007

In one form or another, these items deal with the question of why we need libraries. This may apply to public libraries or other types. Much of it may ask about libraries, and it makes me think about the lacking sense of the public good that seems to be sweeping this country. Anyhow, here's another post idea that I just don't have a lot of time to deal with now, yet I don't want to simply forget.

  • In one of The Guardian's blogs, Louise Tucker asks "Do 'most' people really need libraries anymore?" The key question is who is "most" people. She writes, "But like the NHS, libraries aren't, or shouldn't be, exclusively aiming for the people who could afford to survive without them. The clue is in the name: public services. Such services are meant to serve the whole of a population, not just "most" of it."
  • This takes me forward to a post by the Librarian in Black about "A Treatise on the Black Market of Holds." This is basically another scheme to get some people to pay for something that should be free, in brief.
  • This issue can also include the notion of civility in a library, something that may be giving way to those who seem to favor noise no matter the cost (because it's cool, you know?). Albert A. Marinelli, in a letter to CantonRep, asking, "Concert in a library? What's next, wings and draft beer?" If you have to ask if a concert in the library is too loud for patrons who may actually want to use the library, then the answer is yes, it is too loud. Of course, saying this would get you labeled as "not cool" or as "out of touch" by certain library folks who think cool is the ultimate ends no matter the means.
  • Meanwhile, the Annoyed Librarian talks about "Bread and Circuses" for making public libraries more popular. It's all about giving them the circus, preferably without the bread.
  • Mary Minow, of the Library Law Blog, asks, "Does have an appeals process for patrons who you've banned from the library?" Look at the note, then follow the link. Answer in brief is you should have one (but you can still ban them).
  • The Krafty Librarian points to an article on Google and the competition it poses for libraries. Find the actual article here. I need to look at this more closely; it's the idea that we can't compete against Google, so we need to refocus.

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