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Old 06-10-2011, 09:02 PM   #61
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I've always loved libraries, and have taken advantage of them everywhere I've lived. My dad took us to the library, and I took my kid to the library. I thought I read a lot as a kid, but he just devoured books. I still haven't invested in an E-reader yet, because I'd rather check out books from the library than pay for e-books. Finally my library just got an e-book system so I'll probably check it out soon, but the selection seemed light.

I kind of expected that once I retired I would go every week or two and sit and browse magazines and newspapers. That hasn't happened yet, but I really haven't settled into a retirement routine yet.

There's something about having the books as the center that seems to appeal to me more than a community center, but I don't think I've ever been to a community center to know what those are like.

Certainly libraries will evolve over the next years and this seems an opportunity to try to predict what a 21st century library should have. I'm not sure what that would be, but I do see more people on computers than in the book stacks these days.

Even if it becomes obsolete in 25 years (I don't think it will be 5 or 10), the building will still be useful for something else, won't it?
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Old 06-11-2011, 07:02 AM   #62
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Kevin Kelly weighed in on the topic in his Technium blog. He describes Brewster Kayle's (Internet Archive) effort to preserve copies of physical books for future access. Kelly says:

"We are in a special moment that will not last beyond the end of this century: Paper books are plentiful. They are cheap and everywhere, from airports to drug stores to libraries to bookstores to the shelves of millions of homes. There has never been a better time to be a lover of paper books. But very rapidly the production of paper books will essentially cease, and the collections in homes will dwindle, and even local libraries will not be supported to house books -- particularly popular titles. Rare books will collect in a few rare book libraries, and for the most part common paper books archives will become uncommon. It seems hard to believe now, but within a few generations, seeing a actual paper book will be as rare for most people as seeing an actual lion."

Still, I bet libraries probably have a few decades of value left.
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Old 06-11-2011, 12:48 PM   #63
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[/I]Still, I bet libraries probably have a few decades of value left.
I bet Kelly was really upset when the Alexandria Library burned, too...

No matter how widespread and deeply penetrating the Internet becomes, we'll always have people printing out their e-mail. I suspect that we'll always have people printing books, too.
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Old 06-11-2011, 01:00 PM   #64
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I agree with Ha here
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We don't need local libraries at all, they are a waste of money and often fairly unpleasant places to be.
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Old 06-11-2011, 04:29 PM   #65
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Anyone who has ever been or known a child that likes to read who happens to have poor parents knows that this is one of the most foolish things ever written on the internet.

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I agree with Ha here
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We don't need local libraries at all, they are a waste of money and often fairly unpleasant places to be.


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Old 06-11-2011, 04:37 PM   #66
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In the US, children have access to books via the Internet, central libraries, and have free access to knowledge in general. A lot of money is being spent on many local smaller libraries which are quite empty most of the time. Sorry Hamlet if my previous post came across as too harsh - I am just asking whether public money can be used in a better way.
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Old 06-11-2011, 05:37 PM   #67
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No matter how widespread and deeply penetrating the Internet becomes, we'll always have people printing out their e-mail.
Know anyone under 25 who does that?
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Old 06-11-2011, 05:55 PM   #68
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My point is that most libraries are relatively cheap and have a pretty high return compared to most government spending. There are large portions of the population that don't have computers and internet access. You can tell because the free computers at the local library are almost always in use. Not that the internet is really a substitute for a library.

I would end Social Security and Medicare before I would start closing libraries (with the obvious exception of libraries that aren't getting much use).

From a truly practical standpoint, Social Security and Medicare can be thought of as a waste of money. Why spend money on people who are done working?

I'm always going to choose the next generation over the past ones.


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In the US, children have access to books via the Internet, central libraries, and have free access to knowledge in general. A lot of money is being spent on many local smaller libraries which are quite empty most of the time. Sorry Hamlet if my previous post came across as too harsh - I am just asking whether public money can be used in a better way.
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Old 06-11-2011, 08:08 PM   #69
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We will have to agree to disagree on this point. It is ok to disagree, this is America. Have a good evening, Hamlet.
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I would end Social Security and Medicare before I would start closing libraries (with the obvious exception of libraries that aren't getting much use).
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Old 06-11-2011, 08:43 PM   #70
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I'm arriving late to the party, but, being a librarian, have to respectfully disagree. It's not stupid to plan a new library, if future changes are figured into the plan.

We offer access to books, ebooks, e-audiobooks, DVDs, and more in the huge suburban/rural library system where I work. Our citizens pay about $34 per capita for this service - how many new books can you buy with that? We can purchase a lot more than the average consumer due to economy of scale and discounts offered by our vendors. For customers that like to browse magazines and newspapers and participate in book discussion groups, we offer those options. We also offer self-service requests (items coming from other libraries) and self-checkout machines for those who prefer to make a quick stop. It will be a while before families will be able to afford e-book readers for both parents and kids; I don't see paper books disappearing in the near future. However, our library system is re-evaluating how much shelving goes into our buildings, and how our customers prefer to interact with books and media. To that end, we're creating more of a bookstore or living-room experience than the "mausoleum of books" we know from childhood.

As for homeless customers in the library? That is a breakdown of the healthcare and social services systems, not the fault of the library. Libraries, as public buildings, are rarely able to (legally) turn away a homeless customer.
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Old 06-11-2011, 09:26 PM   #71
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Know anyone under 25 who does that?
Why would anyone under age 25 use e-mail when they can send a text?

You're right about the under-25 group, but it's going to take them at least another 60 years to get rid of the deadwood geezers holding them down...
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Old 06-11-2011, 09:30 PM   #72
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I don't actually want to end SS and Medicare. I just want to prevent the elderly of this country from eating the seed corn.

There are periods in a child's development when their minds expand like sponges. Having almost unlimited access to books at that time is really, really helpful.

I'm thankful that I had access to public libraries during those periods in my life. I don't think I'd have made it quite as far personally and professionally without them.

You have a good night as well, obgyn65.


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We will have to agree to disagree on this point. It is ok to disagree, this is America. Have a good evening, Hamlet.
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Old 06-12-2011, 07:31 AM   #73
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I'm arriving late to the party, but, being a librarian, have to respectfully disagree. It's not stupid to plan a new library, if future changes are figured into the plan.

We offer access to books, ebooks, e-audiobooks, DVDs, and more in the huge suburban/rural library system where I work.
Are you privy to the purchasing decisions/plans for ebooks in your system? I get the impression that libraries are not moving aggressively in this direction and that publishers are throwing up major roadblocks. Do you hear anything along those lines?
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Old 06-12-2011, 12:42 PM   #74
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Hi donheff, yes, my department purchases all materials for the library system. We use an ebook vendor called OverDrive (lots of libraries do). They provide the catalog of titles, storage, and digital resource management (checking-out and checking-in) of titles, but there are definite drawbacks. Everybody hates DRM, except, I suppose, the publishers. There are two major publishers who still won't offer ebooks to libraries (Simon & Schuster and Macmillan) and one that would like to restrict ebooks to 26 usages before "disappearing" them (HarperCollins). I would like libraries to be more aggressive in developing an ebook acquisition/lending system that works for our customers, but it's difficult to get a lot of small fish to negotiate with whales. The American Library Association is convening a committee to work on this...
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Old 06-12-2011, 01:32 PM   #75
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We offer access to books, ebooks, e-audiobooks, DVDs, and more in the huge suburban/rural library system where I work. Our citizens pay about $34 per capita for this service - how many new books can you buy with that?
At least 87. That's how many Kindle books (57 -- 20 active and 37 archived), and Stanza and library epub books (over 30) I have right now. I didn't pay a penny for any of them, and I didn't need to get in my car and visit a library building to get them.
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