future of libraries

Saint Crispin's Day

This was at the top of an email from NJLA I got last week.

TO: NJ LISTSERV MEMBERS

FROM:  PAT Tumulty, Executive Director

RE: Updates-Advocacy

DATE: March 18, 2010

1. NJLA ADVOCACY RESPONSE

Make no mistake, if the current proposals affecting state and local library funding pass, NJ libraries will have to close their doors.

Gov. Christie’s budget calls for a 74% decrease in funding for statewide library services.  This cut includes the elimination of all statewide library programs and services.  What does this mean to NJ residents?

250 of the state's 302 libraries will lose access to the Internet on July 1st

130 libraries will lose email service July 1st

124 libraries will lose their websites or access to them July 1st

Statewide interlibrary loan and delivery of library materials will cease on July 1st

The Talking Book and Braille Center (known as the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped) will close on July 1st

NJ resident’s access to electronic databases such as RefUSA and EBSCO will cease on July 1st

Group contracts which bring down the cost of other electronic resources purchased by libraries will cease on July 1st

In addition, libraries will lose $3 million in state aid -- Read More

The World Without Public Libraries

On the whole, I'm not much of a book reader. Most of my reading is done online; I read a handful of books every year, mostly non-fiction, based on various whims. Right now, I'm reading The World Without Us, a captivating exploration about how the world would revert (or not revert) back to a pre-human emergence. Some of these things have been dramatized into a series on the History Channel by a different name, providing the added element of CGI to show how buildings would collapse, infrastructure would fail, nature reclaims the suburbs, and how all that would remain for future archeologists is our stainless steel cookware. For the scientist in me, it's fascinating to see everything humans have made becoming undone by the natural forces of this world.

So, in touching upon the premise of the book, I thought, "What would the world be like without libraries?" How would our demise come? -- Read More

Tuesday Night Deep Thought: Information Future?

Today I found myself pondering the following question:

“Where will information content be in five years? Ten years?”

And after a long bout of deliberation this evening, I couldn’t really come up with an answer. I think that’s part of our professional problem, really. I can’t think of one person who has more than the most speculative of an educated guess. I’m sure there are some who might read this and take umbrage at this statement, thinking that they are or know someone who could provide an answer. But my guess is that if we were to take the answers, seal them in an envelope, place them in a time capsule, and open them in five or ten years, they would be mostly (if not completely) wrong. (There could be a wager in this, I reckon.) -- Read More

Librarians: at "Bargaining" in the grief cycle

In response to Restore the Noble Purpose of Libraries, by William H. Wisner:

I'm sorry to tell you, Mr. Wisner, but the Noble Library is dead.

It died when my local library purchased a vinyl copy of the album KC and the Sunshine Band back in 1976. Yes, I agree "Boogie Shoes" is an awesome song, but I have to place the death of the traditional, noble, enlightened library at that ignoble event. Up to then, the library never bought any popular music: no Led Zepellin or Rolling Stones or The Who or David Bowie. There were only albums of Prokofiev, Mozart or the Boston Pops.

And librarians have been dealing with the loss for the last thirty years.

The Kübler-Ross Five Stages of Grief are: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. And librarians are smack in the middle of this process.

Some say the Denial stage is still ongoing, but I'm pretty sure it ended around the time your library made you learn about the "23 Things" and "Library 2.0." If creating ten different online accounts and solving the accompanying CAPTCHAs didn't shake you from that initial defensive response, then you're so deluded you probably think The Beatles will still get back together one day (all four of them). -- Read More

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