On Criticizing Libraries

I don’t use any of my local libraries. Not one. But I think they’re an important part of society. Recently I’ve seen more and more libraries adapting. What I mean is we’re not just talking books and computers with internet access. Libraries are offering movies, music, and books in many different formats besides the traditional borrowing many have grown used to.

I know some systems are offering on demand services for most things now. Movies on demand. Music on demand. Electronic books. But now I’m seeing people criticizing them for evolving with the changing times. Huh? Why? Because the libraries of today don’t look and operate like the libraries of the past? I don’t get it. They’re providing all the same items and services of the old version at an even greater convenience. They aren’t throwing out all the books. They aren’t charging cardholders a monthly fee to use the library. Heck, they’re doing everything they’ve done in the past, but now they’re doing more.

I think it’s great to see libraries adapting. And I have a hard time listening to anyone who thinks otherwise. What do you think?

PS: Sorry for the ridiculously late post. The “distraction” I spoke of recently is becoming greater by the day. And no, there’s nothing wrong. It’s actually quite nice to have. Just means I don’t get my posts written on time.

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30 thoughts on “On Criticizing Libraries

  1. I agree, the libraries do seem to be fighting for evolution yet the populace wants to keep them in the past. The libraries in my area are open on inconvenient hours ( 9-5 monday to friday, no weekends) I want to support them, the hours just don’t allow me too.

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  2. Libraries have been forced to adapt and they shouldn’t be criticized for this. They still carry books, etc. They’ve just added the modern touches to keep up with the demands of their patrons. And that’s always been the whole purpose of libraries to begin with. To serve the needs of the people who use them.

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  3. I LOVE my local libraries. One of the first things I do when moving to a new place is checking out the library and getting a library card. Currently, I have three awesome libraries less than ten minutes away from me. I use them to get books from my TBR list for free, rent movies for free, listen to CDs for free, get ebooks for free, and now that I have a 10 month old baby, we go there to play and interact with other kids. I never understand it when people don’t use their libraries (that’s why some libraries are suffering and unable to keep their doors open). They provide awesome services. You have something against free?!

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  4. Have to also pen a love letter to my current library system. 50 libraries over a enormous county. You can get books from any library delivered to any other library and return them to any of the 50. They have a huge ebook and audio book download system. The hours are reasonable and they make a fairly substantial effort to support local artists. I teach a seminar every month at one of the branches on writing. Many branches display art from local high schools. When I compare this to the single library I had in my old locale…that smelled…had a very small selection of physical books and no ebook or audio download…whew…love my library.

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  5. Although I haven’t went to a library for a while, mainly due to time and inconvenience, I like the idea of them evolving to provide in demand services. I don’t know why people would be bothered by this–as long as a physical library is there, there will always be physical books, if that is what one prefers. Also, as things change, evolution is inevitable, such as the case of the library.

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  6. In agreement with one of the commenters above, I also would go to the library more if the hours were extended. I know that the small town I’m currently staying in is lucky to even have a library, but they’re open limited hours. How is that convenient for anybody? Especially those employed or in school?
    It’s ridiculous to hear people criticize libraries. With the rapid increase in e-books and e-commerce and the expansion of the entertainment industry, it’s ludicrous to ridicule a FREE organization and all the benefits it endows on the community.

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  7. I confess that I have not visited a library lately…well for many years. Back in the mid-80s there was a library near my office in New Jersey. I used to go there on my lunch hour to peruse the out of town newspapers. Of course today, if I want to read the L.A. Times or the Miami Herald all I have to do is access them online. It’s better than the print version anyway. But in answer to your question, I think libraries have to evolve if they have a chance of surviving. Unfortunately, library budgets seem to be one of the first to get slashed whenever communities have to cut funding. That’s one of the reasons that they aren’t open for as many hours as could be.

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