Sunday, February 13, 2011

In defense of libraries

This is the best argument for public libraries I have seen in a long time:

It’s true that you can’t use volunteers to manage a large library that serves the diversifying media needs of every imaginable customer in the year 2011, but not every cluster of shacks on some windblown sheepfold can expect to have a library like that, and to lack one is not a misfortune if your foremost concern is with reading...What’s needed by the reader, as such, is a lot of books, selected and organized with a modicum of intelligence, and the free run of them. Everything else is detail.
I can only add that it is important that libraries be open a sufficient number of hours  to allow the readers to visit them at their own convenience, not that of the library staff..

Now all my library friends are very unhappy with the cuts in library service in New Jersey under Chris Christie.  They should know that the decision to cut back library hours is made at the local level and designed to inconvenience the taxpayer to the max, while preserving necessities such as no show jobs for no-account relatives or giving no-bid contracts to friends.

2 comments:

Kitten said...

"They should know that the decision to cut back library hours is made at the local level and designed to inconvenience the taxpayer to the max"

Thanks for confirming something I've suspected for a long time.

When the town I grew up in refused a bond issue for the first time in living memory I understood why the remote drops were closed. After all, there was time and materials costs involved in checking all the drops with a decent chance that a drop would be empty. Locking the in-building drop-slot during operating hours seemed though seemed pretty petty.

Kitten said...

For some reason I was having trouble expressing the rest of my thought yesterday and didn't finish it, possibly leaving you with the impression I was being insulting.

It is true that at the time I blamed the library staff but your post puts me in mind of all the junkets and such the city counsel members liked so much and, in light of your post, I wouldn't be the least surprised if they were the ones responsible for the aggravating decisions.