Are libraries finished? Five arguments for and against

The BBC News Magazine asks the question and provides both yea and nay answers.

"But no matter how eloquently Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy or author Colin Dexter extol their virtues, the fact is library visitor numbers - like their budgets - are falling.

So what can the internet provide that a library can't, and when is there simply no online substitute for a trip to your local library? Here are five examples on either side"

Comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Mmmmm

>the fact is library visitor numbers - like their budgets - are falling.<

No thought of some sort of correlation of those facts? doh!

Looking at the contributions to the story there are obviously so many people that have no idea of costs of ebooks and especially costs of ebooks to public libraries and the whole copyeight and licensing issues that would have to be overcome.
Even a paperback costs more than a paperback to an individual, not to mention the cost of indexing, cataloging, RFID tag fixing etc.

In a way it doesn't matter what the issues are. It is not an attack on libraries, it is just the easiest target. If these protestors got their wallets out or told their councils what else they'd like cancelled instead libraries might be saved!
Problem is people don't like to admit to wanting to spend less on old peoples homes, or rubbish collection or street lights. People need to realise that without either making cuts of paying more things have to go. I personally think there should be the option for paying more! I don't hear of any council giving that as an option. They'd need to cancel less if they had more money, especially if it was raised for something specific like the Libraries.

Another Mmmmmmm

While the budget has fallen and, as a consequence, open hours have fallen, circulation and visits are increasing at my public library which serves a population of 18,000.

As soon as everyone has equal access to Internet services and owns an e-book reader AND has the financial wherewithal to purchase the titles they wanted, then I'll agree that current online resources MIGHT replace public library services.

The proliferation of automobiles in the world has not yet relieved the need for billions of people to walk.

Decay of materials damages

Decay and demage caused by xeroxing, removing of pages, damage from paper, aged books, worn out books and other factors not taken in account

'The man' doesn't know online isn't free

>As soon as everyone has equal access to Internet services and owns an e-book reader AND has the financial wherewithal to purchase the titles they wanted, then I'll agree that current online resources MIGHT replace public library services. <

Totally agree :) But then by that point when we are all that wealthy there will be less of a need for ibraries anyway as we'd also be able to buy all the real books, dvd's etc for ourselves anyway!

I think a lot of it is that some services from some services could be lost. Like there might not be as much of a point having a reference section in one library is the stock isn't up to date, it doesn't get used and theres no money to replace it. But the same library might have an amazing fiction lending service, or a wonderful local history section. In those cases maybe there is a situation where elements of collections can be kept.

(This being in a worst case situation of keeping something rather than nothing)

You know what would be cool ...

If I could go to my public library (where there's already a nice little cafe) and pay maybe 50 cents to a dollar to rent access to books for the day on my Kindle that I couldn't get anywhere else. That would be a nice Saturday morning thing to do. And unlike the publishing industry, I bet many local libraries would be happy to grab a piece of that revenue, since I'm paying $2 for a cup of coffee, but I get a great, relaxing atmosphere and if I want to check out a real book, I can.

Maybe it's just a pipe dream. But I have found that libraries and librarians are far more amenable to meshing the tech world into the library system than the politicians that fund (or de-fund) public institutions are to seeing new ways to make libraries relevant and pay for themselves. It doesn't take much to tap into the savvy and creativity of the media professionals on their payrolls, but good luck getting Boss Hog to listen.

Syndicate content