Public Libraries Have Seen Their Day
Today's Public Libraries are hardly libraries at all.
I've worked at several libraries and while they have books available for check out, they are becoming more and more a "community center" where books are not the focus but a distraction from the community center model.
Don't get me wrong, I think a community center - especially in smaller towns - is probably a good thing. A place for meetings or home-schooling events or what-have-you. However, this community center model cheapens and redifines the term "library." A classic leftist tactic. How do you think they can get away with drag queen story hour for children?
Let me give you a snapshot of the typical patronage at a small library. When the doors open in the morning there is an influx of people and nearly all of them want to get on one of the computers. Because virtually none of them actually have a library card, they can get a guest pass. A greater percentage than you would think have psychological problems, some just don't have computer access elsewhere. I don't begrudge them the computer access but it means we spend a good part of our day teaching people to navigate to sites they want to visit, helping them with how to save and print documents and other computer tasks. Virtually nothing related to library patronage.
Which brings me to the next type of user. Libraries are now the Blockbuster of the roaring 20s. The DVD and Blu-Ray collections are vast and expanding every day. Users can typically check out up to 20 (!) titles at a time. When I see the check-out history for the DVDers, most have never checked out an actual book.
By my estimation, some 25 percent of the patronage on any given day are computer users. Maybe 15% are DVD peeps, 10% are get out from the cold folks. This leaves roughly 50% as book people. Of that group a majority are Boomers or older. And that speaks to the point of this post. Bigly. The rest are made up of home-schoolers, moms getting books for their small children and the occasional middle-schooler who has discovered the pleasure of a reading life.
What's the solution here? Damned if I know. How about community centers that are separate entities from libraries? Remove all DVDs and computers from the library?
On a recent Not Sorry Show episode, Executive Producer Demon Two-Six floated the idea of private libraries. No computers at all, a Dewey Decimal card system, stamped book slips and nothing woke at all. Gotta say, I love this idea.
What say you? Have you been to your public library recently? What are your observations?