The title of this post sums it up:
This came out a few days ago and the library world has been talking about it since.
There’s a really great discussion going on about this topic over at LibraryThing that I wanted to point everyone to.
Specifically, I was inspired by @librarythingtim’s comment…
Actually, although this is really unpopular to say, I think libraries have lost some of their high ground by moving away from the 19th-century idea that they had specific values to communicate–that libraries were there to educate, ennoble and uplift the town, as well as entertain. That’s totally how Carnegie’s era thought of it. As far as books, this is probably the wrong approach. Reading has value virtually no matter what you read, but I don’t feel the same about libraries with big DVD and CD collections, devote to exactly the same stuff you can get down the street at the mall. If the library stands for introducing children to reading, encouraging reading in adults, and being a place where you can explore the world generally, I’m all for it. To the degree libraries are just a free version of Blockbuster, that’s another story. Digitization is going to kill all that off within the decade anyway–both media are dying already, and by-wires digital media is licensed in such a way to prevent what libraries do, namely buy once and lend many times.
Very unpopular to say, but I think Tim raises some good points. Often times we’re thinking inside the box about libraries. What this comment does is challenge us to think about our past in regards to what we’ve been thinking our future may be.
What do you think?