The Berkeley Daily Planet has a short commentray from a library patron: "What a sad day. I returned my library book at my local branch, picked up the book I had reserved, and checked it outâ€”all without speaking to a soul, much less a wise librarian.
It is the stuff of legendsâ€”the alert librarian who reaches out to a distressed child, or a shy child, or an at-risk child and steers that child towards a love of books and from there to a life of possibility. Author Barbara Kingsolver celebrates every living librarian "on behalf of the souls they never knew they saved."
But today, in Berkeley, every library process is impersonal: We reserve books via computer, retrieve our reserved books from an alphabetized shelf, and check them out using an automated machine."