Crowdfunding an illustrated A-Z defending libraries


#1

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#2

This sounds like a fantastic project. While I definitely think the emphasis should be on public libraries, since they're most at risk, I'd like to see something that emphasizes the value of libraries generally.

I speak from the experience of having once worked for the director of a library at a private university who believed libraries were outdated. He was close to retirement, and I think he wanted his legacy to be that he was the guy who saved the university a tremendous amount of money by cutting the library's budget to nothing.

When someone who's job it is to run a library feels that way libraries need a strong defense.


#3

Been there, done that. The last academic library where I worked had a president who loved paying lip service to the value of the library, but never saw fit to allow us more room to serve a burgeoning student community. To my way of thinking, libraries are one of those services the rich see no need for since they've already benefited from their use. Budgets are tight all around, and yet the library is one of those places that doesn't just allow for easier travel or physically light your way--it does those things in your mind in terms of educating and expanding thought. As we shift ever-more to the information economy, the value of the library will become all the more apparent.


#4

At the risk of making this sound like The Four Yorkshiremen, at least the president where you worked paid lip service to the value of the library. The director I worked for--the man who was head of the entire campus library system--made his disdain for libraries quite clear. He started his directorship with a talk about how, because of the internet, the "physical library" would be completely obsolete in just ten years. He predicted this in 1998, and I think seeing it fail to happen frustrated him, so he tried to make it happen by encouraging university administrators to cut the library's budget. He even balked at paying for handicapped access, because, he said, there was no need for it.

I'm sorry to go on at such length. It just still astounds me that someone who'd spent his entire career working in libraries had such an intense hatred of libraries.


#5

Sent this via gmail but noticed the reply never made it through the ether:
This president of yours sounds kinda like a jerk. I know my past director was hot on getting rid of the physical collections, but no extra help was provided to maintain the online collections and my coworkers were not exactly well-schooled in dealing with online resources and how to promote, utilize, or maintain them. That, and in many cases, the online items that were being purchased to replace the print materials usually came with yearly or multi-yearly contracts, such that we'd have to pay and pay and pay for an item that, until it was removed once the online version was shown to be operable, we'd previously owned in perpetuity. I think Cory has pointed out before how the publishers are milking libraries for all they're worth, but that's another question for another day.
So not only no library, but no help for the handicapped to make use of the collections being advertised to the community. So, yeah, sounds like quite the asshole.


#6

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