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You wouldn't like librarians when they're angry...
July 2, 2010 4:10 PM   Subscribe

FOX Chicago News runs a story that suggests closing down public libraries as a means of fixing the state's ongoing budget issues. The Public Library Commissioner responds.
posted by casarkos (77 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Well, the Public Library Commissioner said it so well that I hesitate to gild the lily but:

1) The Fox news article's presentation of public school education and public libraries as an either/or choice is incredibly false. As those of us who studied in school know, public libraries are a major resource for public school students.

2) The Fox news people say they put cameras in (one) library for one hour. As the Commissioner adds, they were pointed solely at the non-circulating reference book stacks. Gee, what a great way to assess library usage! Like staring at an elephant's tail and deciding the animal must be shaped like a snake.

3) As the Commissioner said, the fact that libraries also offer internet access is hardly a good reason to close them down -- um, then where will those people go to find web based information?

I just think this article is more proof that Fox really is threatened by people who read and study and get their information from other sources, too.
posted by bearwife at 4:21 PM on July 2, 2010 [34 favorites]


A more appropriate response would have just been "SHHHHHHHHHHHHHH."

but this is much more effective and informative.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:22 PM on July 2, 2010 [17 favorites]


I am astounded at the lack of understanding of public libraries that your Monday evening story, Are Libraries Necessary, or a Waste of Tax Money? revealed.

They must not know about FOX News very much, then.

That's one really irritating pop-up ad on that page, too. Completely agrees with FOX's style.
posted by darkstar at 4:23 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


My new tumblr blog will be entitled "Fuck Yeah Mary Dempsey".
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:24 PM on July 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


future transcript, fox and friends:
vacuous man: So this, uh, woman in, ah --
vacuous woman: -- Chicago --
vacuous man: And she's totally angry with us for no good reason --
other vacuous man: No good reason!
vacuous man: Upset that we exposed the Chicago libraries for massive taxpayer waste, wrote to attack us!
vacuous woman (not smiling; frowning): words can hurt!
vacuous man: especially when you have to pay for an alleged 12 million people looking at them! Ouch! My Wallet!
other vacuous man: Let's see your responses to this outrage on the McDonalds Morning Meter, brought to you by Apple's iPad!

(camera focuses on iPad, cup of coffee)
posted by boo_radley at 4:24 PM on July 2, 2010 [23 favorites]


Libraries will get you through times without Fox News better than Fox News will get you through times without libraries.
posted by mattdidthat at 4:25 PM on July 2, 2010 [89 favorites]


What do you expect from FOX?

Hey, asswipe? Don't like the city spending money on libraries? FUCKING MOVE TO INDIANA.
posted by eriko at 4:26 PM on July 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


"When I was in school I couldn't afford books and no one helped me. I had to borrow them from the library"
— Craig T. Nelson probably
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:28 PM on July 2, 2010 [40 favorites]


We pay $2400 in annual taxes, but happilly shell over $100 k in mortgage or rent and never ask why. Tonight at 10.
posted by lslelel at 4:28 PM on July 2, 2010 [12 favorites]


I wish they would raise my taxes enough to pay for whatever the hell it was they were paying for up until the last round of budget cuts that meant it took three days to ship books from other branches to my branch instead of the three fucking weeks it takes now. Or Rupert Murdoch's taxes, that would work too.
posted by enn at 4:29 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well in their defense, asking the Fox News audience to pay taxes for books is kind of like asking Superman to sponsor a Kryptonite factory.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:29 PM on July 2, 2010 [95 favorites]


So instead of burning books out in the town square we're now closing down libraries.
posted by New England Cultist at 4:31 PM on July 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


yeah I know it was a local affiliate, but the affiliates seem to be taking their cues from the mothership a lot more these days. In the little bumper I see in the time between when the "Office" re-run ends and when I can dive for the remote, I have gotten to hear about the new "OMG AL GORE SEX SCANDAL" that the L.A. Fox affiliate has discovered like six times in the last week. That's local L.A. news why exactly?
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:32 PM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Or maybe the state government should start charging FOX a daily fee to use the people's bandwidth that was handed out to them.
posted by Babblesort at 4:33 PM on July 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Why do I envison a great big mechanical Jessamyn stomping through several Great Lakes to kick the living crap out of something?
posted by timsteil at 4:34 PM on July 2, 2010 [31 favorites]


You know who else had libraries? Muslims!

Only through a strong policy of illiteracy can we keep the homeland safe from the liberal bias of history, reality, and the rest of the world!

FREDUM and JUSTISE! UAS! UAS! UAS!
posted by yeloson at 4:36 PM on July 2, 2010 [11 favorites]


You know how a public library could save a LOT of money? By NOT acquiring any books written by anyone even vaguely affiliated with FoxNews, Fox or any NewsCorp division. Cancel that Wall Street Journal subscription, NOW! Hey, Murdoch owns a book publisher: away all you HarperCollins imprints! (not a serious suggestion, but still.......)
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:36 PM on July 2, 2010


Fox News Chicago? Yeah, I bet that has a lot of viewers.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:38 PM on July 2, 2010


OBAMA IS A SECRET LIBRARIAN
posted by naju at 4:47 PM on July 2, 2010 [22 favorites]


Local TV news is shit. FOX News is shit. Local FOX News is like shit-borne ebola.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:49 PM on July 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


Next on Fox News bike lanes and sidewalks waste highway funds. After that, what is this mysterious Internet site called Metafilter, and is it really the beat of the web or just a second rate version of boingboing, which is itself just a disastrous mashup of the my yahoo drone page without the horoscope. Go bleep yourself San Diego......
posted by humanfont at 4:50 PM on July 2, 2010


I was a technology intern at Harold Washington, the main branch of CPL, back in the summer of 2000. In addition to keeping Bill Gates/Microsoft donated machines running Windows NT on 90 mhz pentiums limping along (vintage 1995, I think) and chasing off the homeless porno addicts, I also got to teach the public how to google, teach librarians how to code, and appear on public access television with Mary Dempsey.

Mayor Daley thinks enough of Dempsey to have had her in there for the last SIXTEEN years. And it's not for lack of trying to get her out - by my recollection, he attempted to promote her by putting her in charge of Chicago Public Schools, and she turned him down.

Fox news is off their rocker if they think taking on Dempsey and CPL was a good idea. Who are they going to try and take on next? Ron Huberman (former cop, former head of Chicago Transit Authority, current head of Chicago Public Schools)? Da Mayor himself?

I really enjoyed her name dropping Cronkite in her response. Guess who you'll never be, Ms. banished-to-local-Fox-affiliate?
posted by NoRelationToLea at 4:55 PM on July 2, 2010 [11 favorites]


I didn't want to click, but the comments attached to the article are priceless.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:05 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am so sick of open hostility to publicly valued and publicly held amenities. Why has utter selfishness become the American norm? My grandparents would be heartsick to see it.
posted by Miko at 5:07 PM on July 2, 2010 [30 favorites]


I especially liked that FOX closed their argument by talking about the paltry revenue that libraries bring in. Because what else are public services supposed to be for, if not making a profit?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:07 PM on July 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


I wanted to make a cogent comment but the screaming wheels of cognitive dissonance are drowning out anything that I could have said without swears.
posted by beelzbubba at 5:08 PM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


They eat up millions of your hard earned tax dollars. It's money that could be used to keep your child's school running. So with the internet and e-books, do we really need millions for libraries?

How is this not satire?

Also, that popup ad seemed to be un-close-able on reloading the page, rendering the article unreadable, so I reinstalled Adblock to read it. Heckuva job, foxy.
posted by fleetmouse at 5:18 PM on July 2, 2010


Next on 9 News now only on FOX41: "Why are these children playing at PUBLIC TAXPAYER FUNDED PARKS? Shouldn't these children be scrubbing coal stacks and producing for society? Why are your tax dollars subsidizing play which brings in almost no revenue? Stay tuned for our exclusive hidden camera footage of socialist children WASTING YOUR MONEY. Only on FOX41."
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:20 PM on July 2, 2010 [11 favorites]


Chrome warned me that Fox News Chicago had malware. I never knew it was capable of parsing the ideas on a web page before displaying them.
posted by verb at 5:38 PM on July 2, 2010 [22 favorites]


it's pretty obvious the right is against anything public service, and that fox is their mouthpiece. if you privatize the roads, libraries, schools, utilities, etc, the corporations that now own them can provide crappier services at inflated prices. someone makes a profit, and you have no choice but to pay! brilliant!
posted by camdan at 5:38 PM on July 2, 2010


That's one really irritating pop-up ad on that page, too. Completely agrees with FOX's style

Jeez, you aren't kidding! I rarely see pop-ups anymore and I fiddled around with that damn thing trying to close it but no amount of clicking would budge it. That kind of crap is a good way to keep your page views down.

We recently went through a battle here in Wake County (Raleigh, NC) because they decided to close down one branch during the recent budget cuts. They thought it would be a good idea to close down one big mega branch rather than cut hours or services across the board. Guess which one they wanted to close? The one in the high-priced shopping area? No. The one in downtown Raleigh near the historic homes? No. The one in the white collar suburbs? No. They decided, hey, why not close the branch serving the poorest in the community, the one in Garner-- which is too poor even to merit a bookstore. Thankfully there was a big enough backlash and we saved our branch. We may not have the biggest circulation numbers but there is no denying that our local kids need the library computers because most don't have a computer at home.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:43 PM on July 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


So which branch did they close down?

Mind you, this sounds mostly like Fox looking for a little eyeball time. Ad revenues need statistics and all that. Look for recipes for cooking dead babies in coming weeks.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:50 PM on July 2, 2010


When I borrow a Haper Collins book from a library when I really could have bought it, I walk out of the library, pause, close my eyes, bow my head, shed a little tear and whisper, 'Sorry Rupert'
posted by the noob at 5:50 PM on July 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


I can't get rid of the pop-up at all. So I guess I won't be reading the text under it.
posted by litlnemo at 5:54 PM on July 2, 2010


He left River City the library building, but he left all the books to her.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:55 PM on July 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


I can't get rid of the pop-up at all. So I guess I won't be reading the text under it.

Executive summary: "Libraries cost money no1 goes there shut them down lololo"
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:56 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why always libraries on the chopping block, instead of police and fire?
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:08 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Senor Cardgage: ""When I was in school I couldn't afford books and no one helped me. I had to borrow them from the library"
— Craig T. Nelson probably
"

"I'm the first person to go to college in my family. I went for one semester. I took one class. Do you know why? I couldn't afford it. Now I never once even thought, this isn't fair. I never once thought, I want to take it from him – how come he goes and I can't go? I never once thought I was owed an education. I was thirty when I went. I was trying to find answers. When I couldn't afford to go anymore, I was okay. I went to work, I got – picked up my kids from school, I spent the afternoon with them, I put them down to bed, or – whatever we did. I did my homework, if you will, for the next day's show, and then I went and I read. I educated myself, I went to the library – books are free."
--Glenn Beck probably really.
posted by Rhaomi at 6:14 PM on July 2, 2010 [10 favorites]


If I were as rich as Croesus, I'd send a letter to those chumps and tell them that for every library that got closed by the city I WOULD OPEN THREE. WITH ALL TERRAIN FLYING FUCKING BOOKMOBILES
posted by jquinby at 6:15 PM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was just at HWLC today because the book I had checked out was called back due to demand. It's not even new or popular. There are at least 6 other copies at that library alone, all of which are in use.

We don't need libraries my butt. This makes me sad.
posted by phunniemee at 6:20 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Answering inflammatory slander with reasoned and thoughtful argument is the essence of civility.

Mary Dempsey is a class act.
posted by felix betachat at 6:23 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I educated myself, I went to the library – books are free.

GLENN BECK IS A SOCIALIST
posted by Sys Rq at 6:30 PM on July 2, 2010 [12 favorites]


Well the Commissioner isn't helping her case by admitting this:
Those 12 million visitors come to our libraries for free access [emphasis added] to books, journals, research materials, online information and computers, reference assistance from trained librarians, early literacy programs, English as a second language assistance, job search assistance, after school homework help from librarians and certified teachers, best sellers in multiple formats (print, audio, downloadable and e-book), movies, music, author events, book clubs, story times, summer reading programs, financial literacy programs or simply a place to learn, dream and reflect.
As we've established repeatedly here on metafilter, if you consume media without paying, you're stealing. So 'cutting library funding' is the wrong choice of words, it's obviously closing down a communist theft ring.
posted by mullingitover at 6:53 PM on July 2, 2010


So which branch did they close down?

They didn't close down any branches. They cut some building and improvement projects and if I recall correctly put in a hiring freeze. I guess their original thinking was, "If we just close down this one big branch, then we won't have to change anything else," forgetting for a minute that this one big branch serves a lot of people. The thing that really frosted everyone's cookies is just two years ago they spent millions renovating the branch in the really upscale section of town, but one of the reasons they gave for closing our branch was our parking lot is too small.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:01 PM on July 2, 2010


So I guess banning Farenheit 451 wasn't enough for wingnuts.
posted by fuse theorem at 7:07 PM on July 2, 2010


Did you know that if you search 'library' in wikipedia you get the interesting fact - duly researched in this article - that these institutions "date back to 1900 B.C." I think this is pretty convincing that libraries are outdated. 1900 B.C. That is, like, OMG SO OLD. Wikipedia is only 9 years old, and is not funded by tax dollars taken through coercion by the government (all of you are slaves) thereby proving that it can readily replace these socialist relics.
posted by ogallalaknowhow at 7:21 PM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ah, we went through this in Philadelphia last year. I sympathize. (Budgetary-based threats of closing down libraries, that is.)
posted by Mael Oui at 7:46 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Libraries are quiet havens for the community. They take us to other worlds. They even make us laugh. But should these institutions -- that date back to 1900 B.C. -- be on the way out?

Seriously, the person wrote wrote this 'graph better have been laughing his damn ass off. Or maybe crying.
posted by Huck500 at 8:18 PM on July 2, 2010


ah, yes - another clueless opinion from a conservative who naively thinks that civilization just happens, like a christmas present put under the tree by santa claus, and never once thinks that it might be necessary to actually pay taxes and work for the continuance of the institutions that help maintain it

that's what scares me about our current generation of fox news following, tea party conservatives - they haven't a fucking clue as to how they could run a world or even the idea that it might be necessary for them to contribute something in order to do so

they're spoiled idiot children who only know how to destroy and suck up the social capital that has been provided them

unfortunately, they not only seem to be everywhere, but a good many of them seem to be actually running things - right into the ground
posted by pyramid termite at 9:46 PM on July 2, 2010 [11 favorites]


You guys do know that a Fox affiliate's local news isn't the same thing--AT ALL--as "FOX News," right? I mean, I live in Canada, and I know this. You guys in the US do, right? Right?
posted by ethnomethodologist at 10:53 PM on July 2, 2010


Anti-intellectualism at its finest. I have to wonder why they didn't go all the way and suggest a good ol' fashioned book burnin'.
posted by zarq at 12:06 AM on July 3, 2010


You guys do know that a Fox affiliate's local news isn't the same thing--AT ALL--as "FOX News," right? I mean, I live in Canada, and I know this. You guys in the US do, right? Right?

Outfoxed has evidence that corp HQ had sent memos and dictated policy directions for local affiliates. WFLD, "Fox Chicago" is owned and operated by News Corp.
posted by wcfields at 12:44 AM on July 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


i think the utility of traditional brick and mortar public libraries has been slowly decreasing. eventually we will get to a point where the cost of distributing books to most people will be close to zero. once this happens a lot of the value of public libraries will evaporate.

if you look at the CPL annual report it costs around $11.50 per an item circulated. (that figure is overstated because the library provides other services but their annual report doesn't break down costs). at some point libraries are just not going to be cost competitive for book distribution. if we want to subsidise books there will be a more effective way to do it in the future than public libraries. there might even be a better way now but everyone has their status quo blinders (GODDAMN BOOK BURNING IGNORANT HICKS WANT TO DESTROY SOCIETY) on so we can't see it.
posted by drscroogemcduck at 1:40 AM on July 3, 2010


drscroogemcduck: The reason people have those blinders on is because that is explicitly the terms of the debate right now. "Close down the libraries to save the schools". You're trying to paint this as unreasonable opposition to the exploration of new ideas, rather than a quite reasonable reaction to people looking do to away with one of the most fundamentally egalitarian and democratic institutions in our society.
posted by Grimgrin at 3:06 AM on July 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


When I clicked on the Fox article, I accidentally had my cursor over the image so the alt text popped up: "Some Say Libraries a Waste of Money".

The ever-ambiguous "some say" statement is one of the biggest problems I have with Fox News. How they get away with it day after day and manage to retain the "News" part of their company name is beyond me. I know they admit to being "entertainment" for a large portion of the day's news cycle, but constantly introducing stories with "some say.." just has to qualify as false advertising. It's like getting your news from the middle-school playground rumormongers.

- "Some say the president is an alien, Tucker Carlson - true or false?"
- "Some say nationalized healthcare was created by the devil, Glenn Beck - where does this fit into your all-encompassing-conspiracy-theory-of-everything?"

Something something better business bureau..?
posted by pyrex at 4:42 AM on July 3, 2010


I think closing down Fox news is a better idea.
posted by rmmcclay at 4:48 AM on July 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


drscroogemcduck - at some point libraries are just not going to be cost competitive for book distribution.

Libraries are only 'book distributors' because the book has been the medium of knowledge storage, access, and propagation from the advent of the written word to the present. As that changes with the development of hypertext, so will our repositories of knowledge storage, access, and propagation. We'll still call 'em libraries.
posted by carsonb at 5:46 AM on July 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Who's a bad boy for using placeholder-word, editing-later brainfart-circumvention techniques and forgetting about it? hypertext, Internet, etc, wevs.
posted by carsonb at 5:48 AM on July 3, 2010


...$11.50 per an item circulated. (that figure is overstated...)

Well, thanks for admitting it, anyway.
posted by box at 6:12 AM on July 3, 2010


I wish my local library was open 7 days a week.

eventually we will get to a point where the cost of distributing books to most people will be close to zero. once this happens a lot of the value of public libraries will evaporate.

No, it won't. The books you're talking about distributing to most people at low cost are in-print, mass-market books. Libraries have books on the shelf that you aren't going to be able to buy cheaply, even if you can find them elsewhere. Also, it isn't about delivering books to most people; it's about making books (and all those other resources and services) available to everyone.

Some say Fox News operations are hotbeds of drug abuse, Satan-worship, and pedophilia. They haven't denied it!
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:16 AM on July 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Fox News Chicago generally sucks, but not like the mothership. They are just sensationalist hacks, catering to the dullest of viewers. (They do have some good reporters, but their style makes me want to retch.)

Now, that said, the role of libraries in our society is changing. There aren't as many people who view them as the go-to place for knowledge. They are necessary community resources, but that doesn't mean they need to be the place where old people go to read the free newspaper every day and to get free tax forms.
posted by gjc at 6:47 AM on July 3, 2010


They are necessary community resources, but that doesn't mean they need to be the place where old people go to read the free newspaper every day and to get free tax forms.

If what you're saying is true, why are they "necessary community resources" at all?

If they are necessary, they should be whatever you think they should be AND the place where old people go to read newspapers and get tax forms (which are free by definition, no?) -- and all of the hundreds of things that public libraries are to all the people in the communities that they serve, old, young, and everything in between.

The concepts are not mutually exclusive.
posted by blucevalo at 7:02 AM on July 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


They hate us for our freedoms libraries.

But really, this is a stealth attack on intelligence. Figures, Fox News.
posted by SPUTNIK at 7:03 AM on July 3, 2010


And Mary Dempsey rocks ..... although responding to FOX News with a barrage of well-thought-out and excellent facts is something of a lost cause.
posted by blucevalo at 7:04 AM on July 3, 2010


I've recently made the decision to devote the next 2 years and tens of thousands of dollars to librarianship. Sometimes I'm on the fence as to whether or not this is a good idea. Will there be a job available for me when I graduate? Is it worth going into debt? Reading the reply to that throw-away Fox scare piece reminds me that it is.

So long as there's civilization, libraries will be important.
posted by codacorolla at 7:35 AM on July 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


As an aside: the system I work for currently was threatened by a tea party offshoot recently. Our friends board, staff, and patrons organized an advocacy campaign and flooded the comissioners with post cards showing support for the library. This in a community that's traditionally conservative. You don't fuck with libraries without pissing off a LOT of people.
posted by codacorolla at 7:44 AM on July 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


eventually we will get to a point where the cost of distributing books to most people will be close to zero. once this happens a lot of the value of public libraries will evaporate.
It already is. You may have noticed several other threads on MeFi this week where people who do so are referred to as 'thieves', and told to 'go to a library if they want [x] so badly.'

Can't have it both ways, you know.
posted by verb at 7:48 AM on July 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah because libraries may contain forbidden evil books, such as :

150 petites expériences de psychologie des médias : Pour mieux comprendre comment on vous manipule

or even books that contradict the scriptures! Holy canoli!

Isn't it much better when the friendly tv talking head say there's nothing wrong with watching Fox for 8 hours a day? If they say, it must be true!
posted by elpapacito at 8:03 AM on July 3, 2010


I've recently made the decision to devote the next 2 years and tens of thousands of dollars to librarianship.

Hey, thanks.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:13 AM on July 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


"You may have noticed several other threads on MeFi this week where people who do so are referred to as 'thieves', and told to 'go to a library if they want [x] so badly.' "

This is a very interesting debate. This point has been brought up several times in this thread, granted it has been snarkily brought up, but most people are ignoring it. I can go to the library and rent movies, music, and book. I can make "illegal" copies of the movies and music; and if I'm really ambitious I can make photocopies/scans of the books and create pdfs. Does that make me a thief? Is there something about the digital version of the media that changes its legal status? What is the difference between checking out media at the library and downloading it on your computer? Isn't the public library system just the analog form of file sharing? These are all very interesting questions that I'm not sure I have any straightforward answers to and would like to hear some debate. Sorry if I am derailing the fox news bashing as entertaining as it is.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:22 AM on July 3, 2010


"Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries." - Anne Herbert
posted by theora55 at 9:32 AM on July 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


pyrex: When I clicked on the Fox article, I accidentally had my cursor over the image so the alt text popped up: "Some Say Libraries a Waste of Money". The ever-ambiguous "some say" statement is one of the biggest problems I have with Fox News.

I'd love to have Wikipedia editing tools for Fox News articles:

Some say[who?] Libraries a Waste of Money
posted by WCityMike at 10:03 AM on July 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Libraries will get you through times without Fox News better than Fox News will get you through times without libraries.

A tip of the Hatlo hat, to the first adaptation of a quote from Freewheelin Franklin I have ever seen on Mefi
posted by timsteil at 10:22 AM on July 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


This sort of thing pops up periodically, if you're in the library business long enough. There was an article in Reason some time ago about the necessity of funding libraries; the author used as an example some little town's volunteer-run romance paperback loaning program, as if that were all that libraries did. Someone comes along every once in a while and thinks that they're being "bold" or "thinking out of the box" by suggesting this, and they get shouted down.

The real danger is in the sort of slow wasting disease of library budgets being frozen or having these single-digit-percentage budget cuts, year after year, which cuts down on services and resources one thin slice at a time.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:53 AM on July 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


If what you're saying is true, why are they "necessary community resources" at all?

If they are necessary, they should be whatever you think they should be AND the place where old people go to read newspapers and get tax forms (which are free by definition, no?) -- and all of the hundreds of things that public libraries are to all the people in the communities that they serve, old, young, and everything in between.


What I'm saying is that perhaps the times are changing and the library needs to devote itself to being a repository for books and information that *isn't* available or easily accessible elsewhere. Maintaining the free tax form and periodical hangout service probably means paying the equivalent of 1/2 to 1 full time staff member. If times are tough, that money is better spent elsewhere, or at least devoted to the main purpose of a library, which is maintaining a collection of information.

It is a shame that libraries get the shaft when money is tight, don't get me wrong. But it is also a shame when what little investment libraries get is wasted on silliness like that. The necessary resource is the collection and the maintenance of that collection.
posted by gjc at 9:37 AM on July 4, 2010


Cutting library spending during a recession is like trying to put out a fire with kerosene.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:41 AM on July 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


timsteil: "Why do I envison a great big mechanical Jessamyn stomping through several Great Lakes to kick the living crap out of something?"

If the mechanical Jessamyn needs any financial assistance or volunteer local support personnel in it's Great-Lakes-stomping-through and living-crap-out-of-something-kicking mission, I'd like to offer my services, because I am deeply in favor of this on so many levels.
posted by Reverend John at 5:52 PM on July 5, 2010


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