Libraries are underfunded no matter where you look, much the same as public education. I don’t think I’d get much argument if I said these are two institutions we need as a society.
As passionate as I am about education, I’ll focus on libraries today. Libraries are some of the most important public institutions we have. Again, I’d imagine little argument here. But in so many places they’re run like a business. They aren’t bookstores, so they shouldn’t be operated as such.
A library in Florida created a fake patron who checked out more than 2000 books over a span of 9 months. They did this because the library system only uses data to determine when books should be taken out of the system to be discarded. In this particular system a book is on the shortlist to be discarded if not checked out within a year and essentially gone if not checked out in 2.
Obviously libraries cannot have every book in stock. But this system doesn’t factor in the knowledge of its own employees. My local system has multiple librarians at its locations. I imagine that’s fairly standard. Which means you have people who know how to run a library running the libraries. You’d think there’d be a policy in place to defer to their judgment. Not so. (In this case)
So these 2000+ books were checked out because they were almost certainly on the way out. Libraries shouldn’t have to resort to these types of actions in order to keep particular books on their shelves. They’re experts and should be treated as such rather than just a department with a budget.
Tell me why libraries are important to you.