Libraries - Good or Bad


#1

I just want everyones’ opinion on Libraries from funding, what they have in their collection and services they should offer. What role do you think the Library should play in the Community? Feel free to expand if you wish. I will also offer my own opinion on libraries after a few response as my own view will be a bit biased as I work in a Library and ti is my career choice.

Thanks!


#2

Libraries should be a ‘fountain of knowledge.’ Nothing more; nothing less.
“Reading Hour” for children is great, and I don’t see a problem with Sat. matinee’s for kids w/the classics, such as Gulliver’s Travels. etc.
I’ve seen promotions for the local Historical Society, and think that fits in well, too.
Having computers there for public use is great, but should be well-monitored. (as is no porn, and limiting time if there is a line.)

[My mom instilled a love for reading in me. As a kid, I flew back & forth to the library so many times, she got to wondering if I might be wearing out my welcome. lol.
I was never what you might call a “book worm,” but I could definately see the appeal in being a librarian. All that knowledge! All that organizing!!! To drool for. Didn’t become that, but I have volunteered at the local libray when they went digital; helping compile their indexing into computer format.]

However, I have heard of many public libraries taking a whole lot of license with what was originally intended as an information source, and pushing very liberal agendas. You’ll never find me in favor of that.
IOW, very close to what the Constitution gives the Congress the power to do in Article I; Secton 8 re: copyrights: To promote the progress of science and USEFUL arts.
{Be nice if people didn’t need the word “useful” defined for them; especially librarians.}


#3

I think funding libraries is fine. From my distant vantage point, I don’t see it being necessary to expand funding though. The best libraries I’ve been at had well established community / private funding and donations.


#4

Most of my life, I’ve had a love affair with libraries. I’ve mentioned from time to time that at my peak of librarying almost a decade ago, I had cards for thirty libraries all over western Pennsylvania. I can see the libertarian position of libraries being private only, but I’m not in the best position to be objective about it. And I think there’s something wonderful about a public sharing of reading. Having said that, I have seen libraries stock up more and more with trash; I’ll certainly say that library funding should never come from the Feds.

Sigh I remember a small display at the Pittsburgh library about gay pride…


#5

I am a frequent visitor to libraries. I go and buy their used books for 25 or 50 cents. Great deals. I do think they could be funded privately without too much trouble though.


#6

I love libraries…the bigger the better! I also like a lot of the changes towards technology I’ve seen over the years to keep things relevant. I’d like to know more about how things like borrowing digital books & magazines will work in the future. Looking forward to hearing your perspectives.


#7

I LOVE being able to borrow books via Kindle!


#8

Hey 2cent. You and I believe very similarly what libraries should and shouldn’t be. One difference in our views though is the use of filters on computers. Granted I do not approve of looking up porn on a public computer let alone at a library but the problem with filters is that sometimes they filter out some informational sites and are usually subject to City and some library Staff oversight as to what is and isn’t appropriate which can lead to censorship. That is Libraryland is the biggest no-no.

As for libraries pushing liberal agendas. Sometimes a group may want to hold an event at a library and unless it does not follow policy the library has no choice but to let the event go forward. Also if the community wants to know about Homosexuality and there is a demand it is a Librarian duty to educate their community on what ever they wish. There are somethings that I am forced to do because it is the job of a Librarian to do so. We distribute information to the community so long as it is what the community wants. Some librarians do not follow this though and have no right to be called librarians.

Thanks for the response John. Some libraries in smaller areas and communities have a problem getting private and community funding, such is the case at the library I am employed.

There is no problem if the Fed wants to fund libraries so long as they do not try and dictate what the library purchase for the public. Which most of the time it cannot as it is all left up to the Collection Manager and the Director.

See response to John. Though could you expand on this though. Seeking private funding or even public funding takes alot of time. I and my Director attend about 10 meetings a month varying from 1 hour to 4 hours to make sure that those funding us know that we still care about their opinion adn to stay on their good side.

The borrowing of digital books is really growing. I suspect that the buy of physical books will dwindle in the next 50 years or so though. At the moment though there are still people my age that prefer to have a physical book as opposed to a digital book though. As for how it works most libraries led them out just about the same way you lend out a physical book. The difference is, is that the patron is downloading the item and does not have to visit the library.

The Kindle, nexus and iPad are the easiest device to download eBooks and eAudios. The Nook is a pain in the butt to mess with.:banghead:


#9

Libraries are awesome.

Was this a question about public libraries or libraries in general?

If this is about whether they should be public, I say, abolish public libraries. The government has no more role in this business than it does in education, food, housing, clothing, computer sales, automobile sales, newsprint or any other service or good.


#10

Libraries can barely stay afloat with both private and public funding, relegating to private funding only will only quicken their demise. There are a few problems as we continue into the digital age. Seravee says it will take 50 years for physical books sales to dwindle, that is being extremely generous. Amazon had ebooks out sell physical books starting in 2011, Barnes & Nobles says ebooks out sell printed books at a 3 to 1 rate. The first major release DVD came out in 1996, passed VHS by 2000 and they stopped making movies on VHS by 2006. Libraries are becoming increasing futile, especially if ebooks fully replace physical ones, the US can set up an online national book library that any US citizen can borrow any book ever printed at any time. My local library in a pretty small town is only used for internet access and they now have funding to build a bigger library, I have no clue what they are going to do with the space. More computers I guess since I rarely see anyone checkout a book.


#11

Libraries in general whether it be public, private, academic, medical or law.

What makes you say that?


#12

Libraries = socialism.Why should the government purchase books and maintain libraries using public money?Want to read a book? Buy it yourself.I must say, I find it curious to see libertarians and conservatives alike come out in favor of what is one of the clearest and most blatant examples of socialism. I guess socialism is OK when the government spends money on something you directly benefit from or enjoy.


#13

[quote=“UNTRugby, post:10, topic:37712”]
Libraries can barely stay afloat with both private and public funding, relegating to private funding only will only quicken their demise. There are a few problems as we continue into the digital age. Seravee says it will take 50 years for physical books sales to dwindle, that is being extremely generous. Amazon had ebooks out sell physical books starting in 2011, Barnes & Nobles says ebooks out sell printed books at a 3 to 1 rate. The first major release DVD came out in 1996, passed VHS by 2000 and they stopped making movies on VHS by 2006. Libraries are becoming increasing futile, especially if ebooks fully replace physical ones, the US can set up an online national book library that any US citizen can borrow any book ever printed at any time. My local library in a pretty small town is only used for internet access and they now have funding to build a bigger library, I have no clue what they are going to do with the space. More computers I guess since I rarely see anyone checkout a book.
[/quote]Yeah, I think libraries the way we’ve known them are doomed. Our library volunteer program has a bookstore where it sells donated books very, very cheaply. I think that’s the most likely model in the future, a book exchange type thing where books are traded for coins. It’s been extremely successful. I usually double whatever the charge is to help support my local library, which I used a lot till I got my kindle. Now I’m thinking of boxing my bookshelves just for the space. If I have a hard copy of a book, I’d still rather read it on my kindle.

[quote=“Seravee, post:11, topic:37712”]
Libraries in general whether it be public, private, academic, medical or law.

What makes you say that?
[/quote]Public libraries = socialism. Why should you pay for my entertainment or enlightenment?

[quote=“Cactus_Jack, post:12, topic:37712”]
Libraries = socialism.Why should the government purchase books and maintain libraries using public money?Want to read a book? Buy it yourself.I must say, I find it curious to see libertarians and conservatives alike come out in favor of what is one of the clearest and most blatant examples of socialism. I guess socialism is OK when the government spends money on something you directly benefit from or enjoy.
[/quote]Why would you accuse libertarians of supporting publicly funded libraries? Yeah, I’ve always found it curious that my conservative friends and acquaintances vote for library tax levies even when they don’t use the local library, while I vote no on them all and do (or did) use the local public library.


#14

I have great faith in the bureaucracy to overcome any barriers to Federal meddling…

I can see your point, but I do believe that a public library program is a lot harder to abuse if it’s kept local (there’s the rub), and is a community asset; and anyone who funds it can use it (unless they do stupid things and get thrown out). I don’t begrudge libraries local public funding, not so sure about state funding, and I would absolutely forbid Federal funding.


#15

[quote=“Fantasy_Chaser, post:14, topic:37712”]
I can see your point, but I do believe that a public library program is a lot harder to abuse if it’s kept local (there’s the rub), and is a community asset; and anyone who funds it can use it (unless they do stupid things and get thrown out). I don’t begrudge libraries local public funding, not so sure about state funding, and I would absolutely forbid Federal funding.
[/quote]It’s not about how hard it is to abuse. It’s about whether the public should pay for things I need or want. Should the public pay for my Internet service? My cable bill? It’s no different a question.


#16

I think some of you misunderstand how most libraries go about developing their collection. We do not just buy book that we think everyone will need. We buy book that our patrons(the people we serve and see everyday or everyother day) want to read. Say they love Mystery murders then that is what we purchase. They want to read a particular book and request then if it is within budget we will get it. On a local level it is cheaper for people to fund a library through either private funds or taxes to get their entertainment. Libraries benefit a public as a whole and if they want it then who is to say it is evil. Libraries become evil when the government takes control of it as was seen in the USSR. When you place restrictions or try and censor what a library purchases it ceases to be a library. Our police and Fire departments are socialist but I see no reason to shut them down because whether we believe it or not socialism(i.e libraries, fire and police) works on a very small level.


#17

Sorry I missed your post UNT. Libraries provide more than just books and computers. Programs target to all age groups from young to old. Our library acts as a default Senior Centre for our community. There is a push for one in the area but for any city to invest in something like that is currently out of the question due to the economy. Our Summer reading programs continue to be successful and attendance is still growing as is the number of people using the library and checking out books. people like to freak out and think libraries are doomed because of e-books. that is not the case. We simply evolve with them. There will come a time when physical books become something of a rarity but I do not see that happening with recent trends. Libraries are more than just books and as 2cent said earlier are a “fountain of knowledge”.

My estaminet of 50 year may be a bit much but 20 year would be more accurate depending on how e-books continue to be priced by publishers. If they continue at their current rate libraries will stop purchasing them and look at a more cost effect models for acquiring them or stop altogether.

Libraries were founded to provide equal access to knowledge to all regardless of social class. There will always be those who cannot afford knowledge and libraries will always be needed to fill that gap. Unless of course publishers suddenly feel generous and start giving out free books. LMAO!!


#18

Im not saying the function of the library will go away but it wont look much like it exists now. Were talking about replacing the book shelves with a computer lab, thats not much of a stretch to see that happen. especially as you put it the library serves to community and if more people are coming in to use the computer than to checkout books, additionally if they ever get an online ebook library that might eliminate most of the people who check out books.


#19

When things are publicly funded, people stop giving. There is no reason to donate to a library because they get government funding.

Just brainstorming I can think of a couple of fundraising possibilities:

Partnering with local schools to use students as money collectors. Most schools have libraries but public libraries are more extensive and it would be in the schools interest to keep them open.
Partnering with local businesses, where you could have donation containers. Or promotions where 2% of sales on Saturdays goes to the local library.


#20

[quote=“Seravee, post:16, topic:37712”]
I think some of you misunderstand how most libraries go about developing their collection. We do not just buy book that we think everyone will need. We buy book that our patrons(the people we serve and see everyday or everyother day) want to read. Say they love Mystery murders then that is what we purchase. They want to read a particular book and request then if it is within budget we will get it. On a local level it is cheaper for people to fund a library through either private funds or taxes to get their entertainment. Libraries benefit a public as a whole and if they want it then who is to say it is evil. Libraries become evil when the government takes control of it as was seen in the USSR. When you place restrictions or try and censor what a library purchases it ceases to be a library. Our police and Fire departments are socialist but I see no reason to shut them down because whether we believe it or not socialism(i.e libraries, fire and police) works on a very small level.
[/quote]Law enforcement is arguably necessary to, well, enforce the law and ensure justice (I’m particularly fond of Bastiat’s explanation in “The Law” right now. Check it out if it’s on your library shelf). I argue that it must exist in some fashion and would even if the anarchists were able to develop their society briefly. A library is entertainment and education, a commodity that is easily purchased, like food, clothing and shelter. It may benefit the public “as a whole” like any other economic activity, but that doesn’t justify publicly funding it. You asked how it could be “evil” if people want it. Well, some people don’t want it, and they don’t want to pay for it. A majority voting to publicly fund a library does not mean everyone wants it. If people want something, they’ll pay for it. The market will be viable. The library will support itself without public funding.