Daily Archives: December 13, 2010

Why Are Libraries Needed?


On December 2, the Port Orchard (WA) Independent published a letter from a citizen who was tired of high taxes for public services he doesn’t use – especially the library. On December 3, LISNews picked it up as a “newsworthy” item (a decision I question along with Troll Bait who commented; “I don’t get why this one random letter to the editor got a place on LIS news. Yeah, some people think any services the government provides are a waste of tax payer money, this isn’t exactly newsworthy.”). Could it be that LISNews editors are struck by the persistent and annoying question that will not go away? Why are libraries needed?

In my Post from November 4 (21st Century Librarianship – Part 1) I made the following statement;

IMHO this is a painful admission … that ALA is not only NOT answering the question (otherwise it wouldn’t be constantly being asked), but that ALA’s “message” has not changed in over 100 years. My first ALA conference was in Chicago in 1995, and my last ALA conference was Washington, D.C. in 2007, and the session topics and general topics of conversation had not changed! In 12 years – NOTHING HAD CHANGED! STAGNATION!

More than once I have asked in my Posts what the ALA has to say regarding the 21st Century Library. That is another question that will not go away. Where is the leadership for the most important issue in modern library history? When will ALA figure out the significant issues related to the 21st Century Library? When will ALA provide some answers, or even ideas? What can ALA offer to help libraries compete in the 21st Century? (Oh, I know – READ!)

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