This comic was in the Tribune yesterday. While it's meant to be funny and all, I think it says a lot about the state of libraries today. I don't believe that libraries have moved with the times enough. I know there are those who will say they don't have enough resources so of course they haven't. I suppose that's partially true since they are governmental entities. On the other hand, since they are governmental entities, they haven't had to compete, so they can just stay the same. If they were businesses they'd have been gone long ago for not keeping up.
Maybe I'm too negative, but I look around our area. Our own Winnetka Library is still in the '50s, even though resources are not a problem for them. The brand new Deerfield Library, where they tore down the previous building and built an enlarged version (moving out during construction), is extremely disappointing. It reminds one of a '60s library - and they had such an opportunity to be a library of the future.
When will libraries move into the 21st century - or have they in your areas and our area is just behind the times?
I can't talk about Chicago's libraries, of course, but most here now have several computers as the main area of focus, rather than shelves of books. In fact, I seem to remember hearing about a new library that had opened somewhere that had no books at all. While that's taking things too far in my view, the comic seems to refer to the older style. I wonder if the author has been to a library lately?
Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
Our local library expanded several years ago, shortly before e-books became common. You could park and enter the old library after only a few steps, and find yourself almost immediately in the book section.
The new library has an enlarged parking area but you have to hike to the entrance. Once inside, the expansion consists of a concourse about fifty feet long with meeting rooms at one side and settees which no one uses on the other. Then you enter gates which bong even if you had them swipe the book to prevent the noise. You still haven't seen a book since the entire front is either information, checkout, or private glassed-in areas for kids to do school work. After another fifty feet, the books come into view, fewer than in the old library.
If you think I exaggerate about the poor design, before the building was constructed a model was displayed in the old library for comments. I noticed something odd but couldn't figure out what bothered me. Then I pointed out to the person in charge that whoever designed the building put the drive-through deposit box on the wrong side of the building, so anyone wanting to drop off books would have to drive against traffic. The altered design placed on the other side of the building, and no one said "thank you.'.
Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again. Nollidj is power.
I wonder if the author has been to a library lately
Maybe the author of the comic hadn't been, but I have been - and I described above what I have seen. 1950s design - nothing futuristic or innovative. No courses in accessing databases, how to evaluate information found on the Internet, etc. Proof, your library sounds more 21st century than ours do here in Chicago - arnie, yours too. So clearly our library systems here are not average.
And though I may be old-fashioned, for me, if it doesn't have books in it it's not a library. It may be many things - a community centre, a computer centre, a meeting place, a town hall or whatever - but without the books it's not a library.
This doesn't mean that libraries, as I think of them, will survive because they won't. And the word will certainly come to mean something else. And while I'll accept the new definition as valid I'll lament the demise of the institution that I think of as a library.
"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.