Costco stores as role models for Internet-era public libraries (caveats ahead)

The rage is to compare everything in creation to a business. But be careful when doing so with America's public libraries. They are civic and service institutions, not profit-making corporations. A major caveat!

Just the same, in a library context, I was intrigued when President Obama once again singled out Costco for its success. It's delighted shareholders in recent years while paying hourly workers around $21 per hour on the average. Granted, Costco isn't your typical retail chain. It focuses on upscale markets (and bulk purchases). By contrast, public libraries need to serve everyone, especially the poor. That's yet another caveat.

Still, in Costco, I see a few lessons for public libraries in the digital era:

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