Thursday, April 02, 2009

Your Library in a Changing World

As someone who has worked in public and academic libraries for ten years, I found this article both fascinating and heartbreaking.


I have always thought of public libraries as modern-day agoras. Places were equal access to resources still means something. Because of this fact, it is one of the few places that people can still go when times get tough. A surprising side effect of this trend has been increased stress and violence. A disturbing sign of the times.

1 comment:

Gary said...

That's tough, all right. I think in the case of publicly-funded libraries, the community ultimately has to decide what they want those institutions to be. Since these kinds of issues are becoming more and more the fabric of daily life in public libraries, directors of those institutions should be spending the bulk of their time educating and encouraging their communities about the problems those libraries face.

These libraries need actual social workers, law enforcement officials, and other professionals on staff to deal with these issues (not to mention the necessary facilities and equipment). That will cost, and I'm not sure people are willing to pay for it.

In my own humble opinion, the best thing that could happen is for someone to find a business opportunity in dealing with the woes of today's public libraries. A social entrepreneur who understands that our society, for better or for worse, is powerfully motivated by revenue generation and much less by a sense of civic duty or responsibility. If someone could figure that out, I'm voting for her/him for president.