|Image [cc] mtsofan|
Essentially, libraries are closing down just when their communities need them the most.Public libraries have been in the business of helping those in their community who lack their own resources for nearly as long as there has been such a concept of a public library. When times are hard, the group of people that need the resources provided by a public library increases, while at the same time, the funding structure tends to collapse. For those of us in the legal industry, we see a similar problem with Legal Aid programs.
Green's article lays out a number of challenges that public libraries face when the economy takes a downturn, or there is a natural disaster that effects the community. If you're a librarian, you've probably heard all of these stories before. If you're not a librarian, read the story, then read some of the comments below the story, and see the counter arguments. It is interesting to see what those with their own resources tend to see what the library does, and how easily it can be fixed. I think most librarians will agree with me about the common two-pronged answer that commenters (most of whom haven't used a public library in years) make that say public libraries could easily be fixed if they:
- Made it look more like a Barnes & Noble
- Added in a Starbucks-like coffee bar