What’s your library’s mission?

7 January 2005

Was browsing on Whedonseque when I came across a link to a very snotty article in the Denver Post.

While the columnist was at his library he stumbled across “an unfortunate soul in his mid-30s checking out a half-dozen episodes of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” or some such thing, and instantly I question the function of the library system – and humanity’s mental state in general.”

He goes on to question the function of a library, and to insinuate that by stocking DVDs, CDs and trash literature libraries are focusing too much on what people want (junk), and not enough on what they should be reading.

What crap!
Yes, a library should be a place where you can be educated and where you can expand your mind, but it should also be a place where you can come simply to be entertained. To pick up and read a book you wouldn’t spend money on, but that may prove slightly entertaining. Or simply because, like me, you can’t afford to purchase all you would like to read.

There are some valid points raised; but the overall tone of the article annoyed me. Besides, any one with intelligence can clearly see that Buffy has many more levels than simply being about monsters in your school. Not only that, but the classic literature the author would like to see was probably once regarded as populist rubbish. Shakespeare, for example, played to the common as well as the high, and had to write his plays with that in mind.

Not only that, but in this modern world, everything must be seen to be doing business. Statistics on library usage and library patrons influence budgets rather more than the quality of the stock. Maybe that isn’t right, but it is the way the world works today. And any ways, who gave you the right to decide what is “quality” stock, and what isn’t. Censorship by a different method

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