Damon Young | Why Libraries Are Important
Which brings us to another virtue. Libraries are also civic sanctuaries for people. The physical spaces are vital. The light and warmth, the reading nooks, the comfortable chairs and neat cubicles – they invite patient, attentive reading and writing. They also attract play and intimacy. As I write, a grandfather is saying “B for ‘bird’, a yellow bird,” to a toddler replying with “burr, burr”. I have read to my daughter here countless times, often with other children sitting down and listening, open-eyed.
Libraries, in this, have an educational, but also a psychological and social, role. At their best, they provide equal support for reflective solitude and quiet company. They do what cafes have done for centuries, but they do it gratis, and with books ready to hand.
And this immediacy of books is itself vital for people, strolling along shelves together, peering at creased spines. As I have noted elsewhere, electronic books are cheap, fast and searchable – they are not cyber-demons from the future, sent to steal the scent of paper and ink. But they do not offer that frisson of discovery, as we stoop at Dewey decimal 914 and find, amongst the travel books, Robinson on literary Paris.
This is why it is vital that we, the readers, are not seduced by the idea that libraries are simply repositories of digital information; hubs for databases. These too are valuable, and this worth will increase as more books become bytes.
via star-telegram.com: Librarians fight to keep publishers from taking over e-book revolution | Fort Worth | Ne…
I love librarians!
There’s a tightrope across the digital divide that nearly 7,000 librarians meeting this week in Fort Worth are crossing, but some aren’t tiptoeing. They’re leaping across the gap and looking for ways to stay at the forefront of a new age in reading.
Electronic books and digital devices have altered the reading landscape but for the most part America’s six largest publishing houses have tried to keep libraries on the sidelines of the reformation.
Big publishers have limited releases of digital titles to libraries, charged them much more for e-books than printed ones and restricted the number of times that digital books can be checked out before forcing libraries to buy another copy.
Some librarians aren’t willing to let publishers control the revolution.
They are looking to compete by forming their own publishing arms to capitalize on new content streams that have blossomed alongside the e-book tsunami, said Jamie LaRue, director of the Douglas County Library system in Colorado and one of the speakers today at the 100th annual meeting of the Texas Library Association being held at the Fort Worth Convention Center.
THIS IS AN ENCYCLOPEDIA.
IT’S LIKE WIKIPEDIA EXCEPT YOU CAN TRUST IT.