Libraries are Too Important

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.

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11 thoughts on “Libraries are Too Important

  1. Libraries are an infinitely more preferable place to hang out when you’re a teenager!
    Resources when you can’t afford to buy them.
    A way to read a book you think you might like to buy, but you’re not sure so you borrow it and save yourself some money if you don’t like it.
    You can often buy discarded books and other media at a steep discount as a way to help fund the public library and fill your personal library of favorites.
    You can find otherwise hard to find books, etc.
    A way for those who are down on their luck to network, send in resumes, check in with far flung family and friends and probably get warn.
    Quality time with your children, nieces and nephews.
    Quality time by yourself.
    Should I go on? 😉
    Yes, I’m a huge proponent of the public library system.

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  2. I home school. What it would cost me to buy the 30 books a week, on average, we check out from the library on all sorts of topics would break us. Without the very robust public library system our area benefits from, I can’t imagine how I would handle it all.

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  3. That is insane! I was not aware of such circumstances. It is also very sad. I hold libraries in the highest light. They fueled my reading as a young child and opened up a world of possibilities I would have never known otherwise.

    Also as a single mother for a period, they provided a great service to me and my children we may not have been able to afford. Sadly, manly have shut the doors where I grew up.

    We are lucky to live in an area now where the funding is much better and we have several very large local libraries who also offer many online resources. The school participate in many funding programs and take children regularly as well. It all helps, but you are right. Funds are still always lacking. I jump at every opportunity to support our libraries.

    And let us not forget the bonding that occurs when I visit with my children 😉 It is a genuinely great asset to have a solid public library. Ours offer so many valuable resources and classes as well. I could ramble for days about why they are important.

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  4. When I was little, I wanted to be a librarian. My dad worked at one and I remember spending hours upon hours wandering up and down the aisles completely happy. When I was in the military, I sort of lost my love of the library, just didn’t have the time. But since I’ve been out, I have rediscovered the joy. Especially when it comes to books that I’m not sure of. Instead of spending my money and running the risk of hating the book (happens more often than not) I can check it out first. I have also come across series that I absolutely love that I ended up purchasing because I need them in my personal library.

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    • When I was younger I’d do that. I’d find random books I’d never heard of and check them out before actually buying. I only ended up buying a few later on, but a couple introduced me to some of my favorite authors and characters.

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