I imagine that by now everyone in Library Land – and in Book-Lover Land more generally – has seen this news story:
Horrible Histories Author Terry Deary On Libraries: ‘No Longer Relevant’ (posted on the Huffington Post on February 14, 2013)
Such attitudes toward libraries make me sad and angry. Of course, I’m highly biased on this subject, but it’s more than that. It’s the way his whole argument perpetuates misinformation, encourages overwhelmingly selfish principles, and his understanding of how communities and social systems actually work is frighteningly simplistic.
Not only does he completely ignore the massive pile of evidence that libraries are an incredibly effective venue for reader discovery and a leading driver of book sales, I’m personally disgusted by his unmitigated self-interest.
And he’s absolutely, 100% wrong about the “concept behind libraries”.
Never forget – the intent of public libraries is to provide all citizens with access to information in service of maintaining an informed democracy. The purpose of libraries is to enable self-improvement and drive social progress. This is true throughout modern Western culture.
He considers his paycheck more important than civic duty and the communal good, and I think that’s pathetic.
Actually, now that I think of it – people holding their paychecks as more important than civic duty and the communal good is the source of most of our current social ills…