Today in things-that-fuel-my-rage, this article about the death of the library, including this quote:
“I don’t personally use the library. I kind of have the feeling that libraries are going the route of the video rental stores but I’m probably… wrong about that,” said Coun. Ian Paton. “With the access to information now, with everyone having computers in their home, why do we spend so much money?”
My initial reaction:
My second reaction:
Then I finally got around to putting my thoughts into something resembling words.
Libraries are about way more than just accessing information. Sure, when I have a general question (“When was Abraham Lincoln born?” “What’s the difference between flours?”) I turn to the internet. But what about when I need more information than just the basics? That’s when I turn to a library’s resources. Librarians are people who are trained to help you find information. They know way more than just how to Google something, and they have the resources to help you find that information. For example, not all newspaper articles are available online–if you want to read an article from say, 1987, you might want to check with your library. Also, not everyone has internet access at home–but the library sure does.
Also, I don’t know about Paton, but I’m a reader and I can’t always afford (or keep) the books I want to read. Fortunately, the library has books and e-books for free. This is where I cannot understand why anyone would think that library’s aren’t worthwhile. How else are you supposed to get all the books you want to read?
Libraries also offer readings, social events, trainings, etc. A lot of the community loves and depends on events like these. Libraries can also serve as a meeting place for study groups, as an office for writers, or as a safe place for kids and teens to meet and interact.
Basically, I think it’s really short-sighted to assume that the internet can take over pretty much everything a library does. Libraries are invaluable resources for readers and communities, and we need to support them.
(H/T bookshelves of doom)