The biggest issue with equating the library with a Netflix for books is that it sends a false message that libraries are worth little more than $8 or $12 or $20 a month. That the services offered in libraries are little more than options to which people can subscribe, rather than actual services anyone can utilize at any time.
When the library is made to be seen as a business, rather than the heart of a community or a fundamental service made possible through citizen-approved tax dollars, it makes the library expendable. That expendability then moves down the chain: staff salaries get cut, then staff withers, then more programs and projects that benefit the community — books and movies and CDs and magazines and newspapers and wifi and computer access and database subscriptions and programs for all shapes, colors, and sizes of people — disappear, too. It detracts from the unique aspects that make a library what it is: a place for all, rather than a place for some.
Libraries reach out where Netflix reaches in.
I was searching for a DVD for a group of younger high school boys when I overheard this conversation between them:
Boy 1 [looking up at our skylight]: “Why do all libraries have tall ceilings?”
Boy 2: “Because libraries are cool.”
Boy 1: “Yeah, libraries are pretty cool places.”
Boy 2: “They’re cooler than people expect them to be.”
- Brazil: we came out to have a good time and hones-[Germany scores again]