Tuesday, 8 July 2008

The Book Report: In Defence of Libraries

Yesterday I did a post registering my displeasure at the closing of the Fox Studio Research Library. And an anonymous commenter said that many corporations are disposing of their research libraries with the coming of the internet and why should Hollywood studios be any different.

Well, I think that sacrificing libraries for the illusion of efficiency that the internet provides is a mistake that's going to cost a lot down the road.

Now the internet is all well and good, and the new mail-order book services have their place too, but they don't really replace the real library experience, especially for people in the artistic field.

Internet searches require you to be very specific in what you're looking for, and Xenu help you if you make a spelling mistake, because you might end up finding something that ain't exactly safe for work. And it's the same for ordering books to be delivered, even when the cost is not prohibitive, it still can't deliver what the library experience can.

In a library it doesn't cost you any money, and only a few seconds of time, to poke around the stacks and take a gander in a book out of pure and simple curiosity. It may be on a different topic, but you never know what you'll find there, some tidbit of trivia may give you a new idea, or make you look at your subject in a whole new light. It's the thrill of discovering the unknown and the unexpected, that you can't really find trolling through Amazon or Wikipedia.

So we should support libraries, in all their forms.

1 comment:

  1. I work (well I quit today [girl trouble, have to move out of state to get hitched]) at a library. I am pessimistic about libraries, mainly due to two factors.

    One is the internet, why have a library, when you have the web?

    The second is bums, who use the internet at the library. Most of them are OK, but quite a few are dangerous or scary.

    The combination of both of these will make taxpayers less likely to vote funding for libraries. All it takes is one sensational incident with a bum and a kid, and the libraries will have lost their centuries old good reputation.

    Look what happened to Halloween after the Tylenol poisoning, the holiday never recovered even though it was not even related.

    I am not saying this is a good thing mind you, but that is what I think will happen. Unfortunately, for my job prospects.