Bookless Libraries

Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does many things. He is the author of the forthcoming book "The Paris Bureau" from Dio Press (early 2021).

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9 Responses

  1. Jonathan says:

    Thanks. The net needs more posts like this. Despite your warning, it was quite interesting.Report

  2. Pat Cahalan says:

    To paraphrase Gödel, “Complete, concise, correct… pick two” (one of my favorite paraphrases). No formal model can be all three, and yes, this includes economics and market valuations. Every framework is limited by the boundary conditions of its assumptions, if nothing else.

    Assuming that a university’s job is to respond to “market forces” is not only a deuce’d odd position to take from a philosophy of education standpoint, it’s a ridiculously stupid position to take even from an economics standpoint. Market forces in education (particularly in the United States) are subject to a huge imposition of non-free influences. Tuitions are subsidized. Institutions are subsidized. Parents (almost universally) don’t decide to pay for tuition based upon any sort of ROI evaluation. Students don’t go to school to maximize their economic return. The employer market incorrectly (and idiotically) values a university degree as an entry point for gainful employment.

    If I read a statement by a university president stating that (s)he’s responding to market forces, my first inclination would be to stop donating to said institution…Report

  3. Jaybird says:

    A stupid question… I’m wondering how many libraries per capita we have in our country and how we rank vs. other First World countries.

    Is this a situation where the US may have more dinky libraries per capita than, say, England or France (who have fewer, but much larger, libraries)?

    If that is the case, is it a surprise that, every now and again, a library decides to do something “progressive”?

    But I don’t know… and my “libraries per capita” bing search wasn’t helpful… but I suspect that we are likely to have a lot more small libraries and Europe has a lot fewer large ones.

    And I believe that that would contribute to a dynamic like the one where we see a dumb-assed administrator do something dumb-assed like get rid of “analog studies”.Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to Jaybird says:

      Yeah, and it’s probably easier to do something dumb assed when you’re an admin at a small library. And when you’re a headmaster at a private instead of a public school, you can replace the library with a $50,000 coffee shop and say things like, “We see this as a natural way to shape emerging trends and optimize technology,” without the public running you out on a rail.

      Actually, that was my thought about the “futurist” article- in the last American county I lived in, there were huge protests about cutting the library hours back slightly. I’m guessing that “Hey, just so you know, we’re throwing out the books! Step with me now, into the future!” won’t go over well with the public, Kindles or not.Report

  4. JosephFM says:

    A library without books isn’t a library, it’s a database.Report