because I do. I would love it my job was to read all day and help with reader’s advisory questions… but it is not… it is all that and so much more.
On Sunday, we get the actual physical local paper. We read it over a breakfast I make; this day was what is in the fridge omelets and English muffins with strawberry jam. I read the paper and put it in the recycling and then did my normal stuff. And I chewed on this one article all day long. I ended up getting it out of the recycle bin, so take that snow and ice.
Libraries come in all shapes and sizes. The smaller the library the more necessary (IMO), it is to serve a multitude of needs. Mine is a small library based on population we serve. Our focus may be different than say Indy or Chicago or NYC. BUT those libraries while large in population served, may have 14+ branches and those branches mirror my needs and my goals in a smaller library. The branch and how they serve their area in X is NOT the same as Y and should not be, regardless if they are all under the large city umbrella.
Larger and Academic libraries might lean toward collection retention and a research/reference focus. However, no library can save everything. We weed. I said it. We weed. I order on average 30-40 picture books a month for my library. Do the math, I’ll wait. Some books must leave, as I only have so much square footage. And we donate to pantries, friends of the library, etc. We do NOT have a giant shredder we all take turns shoving books into. Big libraries are even bigger weeders. Size to size.
But that is not why I climbed into my recycle bin. The one paragraph in the one article came off so very “let them eat cake”. And oh did it get my hackles up…. Paraphrased… Libraries need to focus on collections because there ARE community centers already serving those needs. I was angry and yet I also see this as an opportunity for education… yes there are senior centers and community centers. However there can be financial constrains keeping people from using these facilities. And you also loose the multi generational interaction you find in the library. The mingling of the many walks of life and the social economic influences. Libraries are the unofficial community centers in so many areas and to think they are only about books… is so very short sighted and slightly elitist.
“A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert.”