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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Libraries are services, not places

The tireless and wondrous Salem historian Virginia Green brings us another great piece of Salem history today with this article on the traveling library in Oregon -- something that's going to have to come back into vogue in years to come (bringing books to the readers instead of expecting readers to travel to the building where the books live).

In years to come, as fuel prices make easy transport more and more a thing of the past --- and the costs of heating, cooling, lighting, and securing libraries continues to skyrocket --- we're going to have to re-think the whole idea of libraries as places where people find books. We're going to need to develop more of a community-based system, where the books don't live in conditions suitable for people in between readings. Instead, the books are housed in an environment good for books and people call for them and then the books travel, rather than the people.

There's still an essential role for librarians in this future -- less so for massive, expensive buildings though.

Just in time for the next fuel price runup, Salem dumps more money from a plane

ACT Party - Feeding At The TroughImage by William Joyce via Flickr

Truly bizarre. Libraries, police, fire, parks -- all being cut. Hunger rising all over town. Foreclosures up, up, up. But the airport is going to be sacrosanct. Can somebody possibly explain to me why we're supposed to all be tightening our belts, except for the folks wealthy enough to own private planes and the airlines (see photo)?
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