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The Demise of the Public Library (nytimes.com)
3 points by mgunes 968 days ago | 1 comment


1 point by brett 965 days ago | link

From the article: "In Brent, the move is being sold to the public as the 'Libraries Transformation Project.' Six of Brent’s 12 libraries will be closed, and the more than $1.5 million that will (allegedly) be saved will then be used to improve the remaining libraries, create a Virtual Library and open a 'super library.' That new building will cost more than $4.6 million..."

I'm not sure, in relaying this information, that she is supporting her own thesis. Yes, it's a difficult decision to close small libraries in order to free up funds to create a larger library or expand digital library services. As the director of a small, single branch, independent library I'm acutely aware of what would be lost if we were to close and the people who rely on us were forced to travel farther in order to access a physical library. But I'm not necessarily the right person to judge if, on balance, more people would benefit, especially if -- as appears to be the case in Brent -- the library's funding agencies were prepared to significantly increase library spending (at least in the short term).

Right now, to the best of my knowledge (and I've been researching this question pretty actively for quite some time), we simply don't know what funding/organizational models work best for public libraries. Which isn't to say that we don't know anything. It's possible the writer of this editorial is correct, and on balance Brent will be worse off. But, at least to me, it also seems possible that Brent is making a good decision -- one that may help to forestall the demise of the public library.

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