Wednesday, July 27

two on libraries

Using the old bus analogy; you wait for some pithy advocacy of public libraries and two come along at the same time;


"Libraries provide all residents with unlimited access to the reading and information resources that will mean the difference between success and failure for Swampscott residents as individuals, Swampscott as a town, and the United States as a nation. They are supported by a very modest contribution of public tax funds, and provide a fabulous return on this investment by any measure.

Sure, the library is an old fashioned concept. So is democracy. So is equal opportunity. So is getting your facts right."
Why We Need Free Public Libraries More Than Ever in The Atlantic

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"These increased levels of use remained high following the recovery as new and continuing users discovered the value of library services. The extensive use during recessions is partially the result of public libraries’ adjusting services to fill recession-related needs. It also stems from a growing public confidence in the trustworthiness of information provided by libraries, the quality of services offered and the convenient access...

• About one in eight visits is by a small business — and even some large ones — to conduct research and to seek information and support regarding legal, financial and operational concerns.

...Without budgets for new purchases, collections grow stale and outdated for lack of new volumes and updates."
Public libraries are particularly essential in recessions in The Providence Journal

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

hey 10Engines - do you work in a library? I do and I always like to see the positive library posts!

thanks, DinTX

james at 10engines said...

@DinTX -a library student, graduate next year. thx

Pillar Of Autumn said...

Sure libraries are a good thing and they do provide a needed service; but many communities are juggling ridiculous budgets that need real paring down. Libraries are essential, but they also have to settle for realistic funding cutbacks in these trying times.

David Scott said...

Libraries are the repositories of our accumulated wisdom. Free libaries dispense that wisdom in the spirit of equality and brotherhood.

james at 10engines said...

@pillar -Q of priorities and values, no doubt. This Save The Arts clip deals w/ similar isues http://10engines.blogspot.com/2010/09/save-arts.html

Anna said...

to Pillar of A: Libraries should not have to settle for realistic funding cutbacks at all- even though they are forced to do this on a regular basis. Successful companies and individuals, who often do not financially support libraries, should provide more tax revenues to help us all in these trying times. Then libraries and artists and educators and farmers, as well as many working people would not be the ones who always suffer the most during 'trying times.' It's a no brainer!

james at 10engines said...

@anna unfortunately it is not a no-brainer, thus the discussion occurring now. don't think "more tax" will fly though... i believe libraries need to keep loudly showing/explaining their worth, then we can wring the neck of this question.

randall said...

I am a huge fan of public libraries and have a library card from every place I've ever lived. In fact that is one of the first orders of business whenever I've moved somewhere new. I've paid more than my fair share of overdue material fines and can't even begin to put down in words the things I've learned, the things I've seen and heard all thanks to the humble library card and more importantly free access to any public library in the country. It is well known that those who can control and manipulate the flow of information can control and manipulate the populace, we see this battle going on for the control of public education through standardization and now it seems that there is a slight movement afoot to start in on the flow of information through public libraries. To what end though? Before I start painting myself into the conspiracy theorist corner, I would ask, is it intentional or is it an unintended consequence of the "democracy" in which we live.
Up in Boston right now there is an interesting federal prosecution going on for someone who hacked in to JSTOR.
Anyway, thanks for the forum and for entertaining my ramblings. I think (but I'm not sure) that I would rather choose libraries with a nominal fee attached than no library at all.

james at 10engines said...

@randall there are plenty of fee/membership based libraries around if you want to pay... The Boston Atheneum for one. And lovely I am sure. I think "free access" is a huge component of the public library system myself.

randall said...

10Engines - I agree with you about "free access" and I would go one step further and say that it is ultimate component of the public library system. I'd be interested in your opinion in a strictly binary sense of library with nominal fee or no library at all because it can't be funded; because you know that once they can capitalize on the public library system it will be like water over the dam. I'm not quite sure where I stand on that yet since I've never really contemplated it before.

Anna said...

Yah, James. Only a No Brainer to an elite few of us. Unfortunately. I'm basically a socialist, I'm afraid. I pay $35. a year to belong to a public library in Manchester, Vermont. Randall's thought - if it's a choice between no library and having to pay (which is probably a realistic option in the future) then we have to pay. Hopefully the admission price will stay low - and maybe a system could be set up so people with low incomes wouldn't have to pay. We have a health center here that works - very well - like that! Right James?!

james at 10engines said...

@anna we already pay... in taxes. Mark Skinner is a fee based library? or another one?
Yes, the MVMC has to fundraise like hell to make it all happen.

randall said...

I think that begs the bigger question. We already pay twice for may supposedly public services. For example, I was just up in MA last weekend and had to pay for the privilege to drive on Interstate 90 and I have to believe that at least some of my federal taxes go the maintaining that interstate system. Is the free flow access to information more important than the right to interstate travel?

Anna said...

This conversation is a side show for the current ongoing argument in DC. We 'ordinary people' do pay taxes, but the wealthiest corporations and the wealthiest individuals have many tax breaks that most of us don't have a prayer of getting. That's my point - if the top 20% in our economy paid their fare share, the libraries, health care orgs, and other non profits wouldn't have such an extremely tough time of it. Social services are always cut before taxing the wealthy more. Alsothis is probably another reason we end up paying twice for driving on an interstate highway. It's a skewed economical situation that probably won't change much (and actually has been the same all through history..) Yes, Mark Skinner - which recently became a public library.