Your contributor Panos Mourdoukoutas (seriously, can this guy’s name be any harder to spell?) is an idiot. A complete, entitled, out of touch idiot.
The rest of society who has actually been to a library once in their lives.
In all seriousness, the article posted on Forbes.com immediately raised the hackles of just about every reader and library goer on social media. In a nut shell the contributor argues that Amazon is an excellent replacement for the public library system. Because, he argues, it’ll save taxpayer dollars.
Honey, baby, sweetie, no.
Do you know how much of your taxpayer dollars go to running your public library? On average about $40 per person. Do you know how much your librarians are paid? Just about diddly squat considering all they do. the rest of the staffing is made of interns and volunteers. Not exactly spending big in this area, are we?
My biggest issue is this: What this contributor is arguing for is a pay to play model. Privatized libraries that require a subscription fee.
I’m sorry but that’s a no from me dawg. I grew up on a very thin budget. Single parent house, one income, rarely was my child support ever paid to my mom. And so most of my books came from the library. I read ravenously, had my own library card at a young age. I read far above my reading level and had full reign of the library even when I was little. My mom didn’t censor, she let me learn on my own. Explore, grow, at my own pace. Without the library I wouldn’t have had any of that. Likely a subscription fee wouldn’t have been in our budget. We didn’t have cable and the computer we had was old with the slowest, saddest dial up there was.
And yet there were plenty of families worse off. No computer at all, no internet. But they could get both at the library. Use the printers and copiers when they needed to for only a few coins. The library had computer classes for those who didn’t learn in school, careers preparedness classes, resume classes, Microsoft Office classes.
These days community centers are all but a thing of the past. In many cases the library fills in those gaps. Teens get homework help in the young adult room. Children,s librarians organize storytime and kids programming. Authors are invited for events and signings. Could you get any of that with some Amazon “library” subscription.
As it is many of the poor can afford devices like computers, tablets, or smart phones with large data plans. They don’t have their own wifi. So how, even if they could pay for a subscription, would this benefit them?
Of course Forbes and their contributor wouldn’t think of the little guy. They’re all about business and libraries don’t exactly follow the model since they don’t compete for profit margins and stock prices. They wouldn’t be interested in all the good outside the lending aspect that libraries do. They don’t care that for some kids libraries are the only safe place for them to go. The only escape. Amazon won’t give us that.
This article is from the most privileged and ridiculous perspective I have ever seen. An economics professor whose bio explains about all the publications who take his contributions, the places he has travelled, cares nothing more for what libraries really do than other well off men who scoff and say “isn’t this obsolete yet?”
No, libraries are not obsolete. They’ve been around for thousands of years and if I have any say they will continue to be around for another several thousand.
So this is my message to you, Panos, and also you Forbes:
Keep your nose out of where it doesn’t belong. Your classist opinions don’t belong here. Go back to your business and leave libraries alone.
An angry student librarian,