Libraries Going the Way of the Dinosaur?

Posted: July 5, 2006 in Uncategorized

Lots of looming issues on the subject of the future of the public library, to put it mildly. Sarah Long’s recent theme of the month article addressed this issue and it really hit home. If you haven’t read it yet please have a look:


Newspaper and magazine articles about the survival struggles of libraries here and abroad seem to be popping up all over the place. Could that be a good thing?

This is a recent article published in the _Guardian_ (UK), a publication very involved in matters bookish (thus a pet favorite of this reader):


If you finish the article without hyperventilating at the mention of the number of public libraries closing in the UK I’d be very surprised. Not only are many of them already closed, but there are dozens more “to be reviewed.”

Very dire words.

What’s possibly even more frightening is the UK has a higher percentage of readers than the US. I don’t have the figures at hand, but I’ve read many articles on the subject through the years, and that fact gives me pause. If a population with a greater percentage of serious readers is finding its public libraries irrelevant then what hope does the attention-challenged US population have?

Maybe we should start a new reality series, “Survivor: Public Library.” Then maybe we’d get the attention of the public. Or, maybe, “Lost: In a Public Library.” That’ll make ’em tune in!

Or not.

In any event, it’s complacency that’s the real demon. If the issue’s avoided it really will go away. The libraries, that is, if the institution as a whole can’t find a way to make itself dynamic and vital.


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