On 05/08/2013 18:14, Michael Klossner wrote:
Thanks for sharing that. it is interesting, along with all of the comments, both pro and con. Being a librarian, I rarely come across a lot of anti-library comments, so I really appreciate this and the comments by a “Paula Douglas”. Invaluable. Someone gave a link to an article in Time Magazine “The Future of Libraries: Short on Books, Long on Tech” http://techland.time.com/2013/06/25/the-future-of-libraries-short-on-books-long-on-tech/
I suspect there are many people out there who secretly do not want their money to go to the library–especially in these straightened times–but don’t want to say it openly. The author’s comment: “The library is rapidly becoming a community center rather than a place with books” will resonate with many.
The fact is that there will be a tradeoff between libraries and … what? For instance, what should Detroit do, a city in bankruptcy? Should they close some libraries or sell off parts of the Art Museum? Or close fire or police stations? Or give pensioners less?
Is it time to get rid of libraries, or to get rid of some of the “stuff” of libraries? What is the purpose of those 10 copies of Huck Finn on the shelf, when there are multiple copies in multiple formats available from Google Books, the Internet Archive and other places for free? That goes for almost everything published before 1923. Shouldn’t it make a least a little bit of difference? What if municipalities bought an Espresso Book Machine to handle requests such as these from every x number of libraries, or (perhaps cheaper) to contract with local printing establishments, and people would wind up with a personal copy of the book? They may like that and may even be willing to pay higher taxes in exchange. Patrons should have to pay a couple of dollars or so for each book they get. Such a program wouldn’t be free, but it would probably cost less to run than a branch.
There are also tons of materials in the public domain: most government publications around the world, UN publications, think tank publications and so on. They are just incredibly hard to find, and for the average person, probably impossible.
The more popular works (new novels, etc.) keep tight hold on copyright of course, and are not available except through entities such as Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime is not available for people in Italy, but I always thought it sounded like a pretty good deal, where you get video and one free e-book a month for $80 a year. Maybe a municipality could get a special bulk subscription rate.
Good cataloging could help people find many of these materials, but for that to happen, our catalogs would have to function as modern information tools and not as they do now. When considering such matters, it is worthwhile to spend a few moment on the values of implementing RDA. Well, it should be easy to convince the public that RDA implementation is worth at least a few fire stations and a couple of schools, or maybe a few art works, some police stations and a bevy of pensioners….