Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.As regular readers of this blog will know I have an Amazon Kindle and I’m not afraid to use it. Equally readers also know I’m a proud library card user and I’m not afraid to use that either, Perhaps that’s what drew me to an article I saw on Twitter in Forbes online by Panos Mourdoukoutas entitled Amazon Should Replace Local Libraries To Save Taxpayers’ Money (https://www.forbes.com/sites/panosmourdoukoutas/2018/07/21/amazon-should-replace-local-libraries-to-save-taxpayers-money/#2d4c7fee60a8).
Now at time of writing there are no Amazon bookshops in Britain (which is what he proposes to replace the library). But still libraries are under constant attack and are always the ones venerable to closure in the name of “austerity cuts”. So using his article to defend the library service is I suspect an issue which crosses the Atlantic so here goes.
There is firstly a principle here. And that is the library is part of the community and because it is part of the community people trust it. No private company would have that trust. They would be in fact the Gatekeeper of knowledge for the very people who would need it the most. And when I say Gatekeeper it’s in the Sandra Bullock film The Net sense of the word.
Despite what Mr Mourdoukoutas would imply I suspect that people enjoy walking into libraries and discovering a book to borrow. Discovering a book is one of life’s quiet little pleasures. And people still borrow “physical” books. Who knows what the future brings but for the moment the reports of the death of the physical book are greatly exaggerated.
And some people don’t have internet access at home. The library, and by definition the physical book provides a world of entertainment and information (ditto borrowing DVDs in the worlds of Amazon Prime and Netflix) and of course provides internet access.
He mentions places like Starbucks as where people hang out as something the library has replaced. Perhaps. But until I’ve seen a Starbucks where unemployed people are helped in their CVs for example I know which building helps the community more.
He refers to the Amazon online library. In Britain you have to be an Amazon Prime member to take advantage of it. That costs Â£80 a year. Where are the figures in the article to say using an Amazon bookshop would be cheaper than using a public library?
A library is an important resource. To lose it damages a community even in this digital day and age. Who knows what the future will bring. But for the moment it’s worth fighting for in it’s present form and I’d happily fight for the good fight in it’s name.
Until the next time.