Barbarians at the Gates of the Public Library


Anonymous Patron sends "us this intriguing treatise titled Barbarians at the Gates of the Public Library:
How Postmodern Consumer Capitalism Threatens Democracy, Civil Education and the Public Good
" by Ed D'Angelo. Here's a sliver from section 1, "The Crisis of Democracy" to give you an idea of D'Angelo's thesis:

The public library may be like the proverbial canary in the mine -- the first to go when the air is poisoned. It is uniquely positioned to feel the effects of a declining democratic civilization; and it is the first to go when knowledge gets reduced to information and entertainment.

comment from RH:
There's no info about the author on the site, and the link to the bibliography is dead, but there are 12 lengthy sections to read through. I've not had a chance to read it, but am intrigued. I expect book reports from you all!


Based only on that sliver, and I haven't looked at the rest of it, I'd doubt that democracy is crashing just yet. Many public libraries started out as private clubs supported by donations of members, including the one in my home town which I think became "public" in the 1930s. Democracy and our republic is a tad older--and stronger than the public library.

My suspicion is triggered by the lack of identifying information about the writer (although he's probably a grad student, from the looks of the writing), never a good sign, and the non-functional biblio link.

Call me a cynic, but whatever value the thesis has, the writing needs to be authenticated and backed up with checkable evidence to make it credible.

Once material selection, reference and reader’s advisory are taken away from librarians, nothing remains of their traditional work duties but library management and customer service. Since these two remaining duties are different, and require different levels of education and training, they can be split into two separate roles.

Interesting idea, but seems a little reductionist to me.

FYI - if you remove the "_private/" from the bibliography link, it works. Here's the correct URL: raphy.htm

Okay, I retract my bibliography wisecrack ..... but I'd still like to know more about the author.

I googled him--found his name linked to some anarchist groups. Doesn't appear to be a librarian--more of a political theorist.

A quick search on Google! (+"Ed D'Angelo" +librarian) tells me that the author is a librarian with the Brooklyn Public Library with a PhD in Philosophy. As to the content of his work, just look at your libraries budget. The canary is already gasping!

I'm embarassed by my sloppy googling. I'll blame it on the fact that I ran out of ritalin over a week ago. I'm blaming everything on that. Don't know what I'll blame stuff on when I get my prescription refilled tomorrow.

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