Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Forbes on why libraries matter

Here's David Vinjamuri's 2nd article for Forbes, "Why Public Libraries Matter: And How They Can Do More." While I'm not sure I agree with all his conclusions (for instance, there was never a time when we could buy everything, I don't think we should stop buying popular titles now, and I don't think we steal sales from publishers), I'm impressed by a lot of things in it. He did his homework. He sees the rise of a library that is far more of a community center, and a bridge across the digital divide. He write, "Libraries support three core missions: promoting reading, offering access to information and anchoring communities." He hints at a role I think will be key for libraries in the future, as important to society as our children's department today (he doesn't talk about the role of libraries in aiding and abetting early childhood literacy): finding, improving, and marketing the work of local authors.

On balance, the piece is one of the best I've seen in the popular media, and captures a lot of the deep changes happening not just in publishing, but in libraries.

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