Are Libraries still Relevant?

Fox News recently published an article stating that the state of Illinois might be better served if they shut down its library system:

They eat up millions of your hard earned tax dollars. It’s money that could be used to keep your child’s school running. So with the internet and e-books, do we really need millions for libraries?

Libraries are quiet havens for the community. They take us to other worlds. They even make us laugh. But should these institutions — that date back to 1900 B.C. — be on the way out?

There are 799 public libraries in Illinois. And they’re busy. People borrow more than 88 million times a year.

But keeping libraries running costs big money. In Chicago, the city pumps $120 million a year into them. In fact, a full 2.5 percent of our yearly property taxes go to fund them.

That’s money that could go elsewhere – like for schools, the CTA, police or pensions

They go on to state that in the hour-long period they monitored with undercover cameras, there were 300 visitors who mostly used the free internet instead of using any other standard library resources.  But then they go on to end the article with the note that Chicago pulls in over 2 million in library fines.  That’s fines for overdue books…  so it looks like libraries are used for more than free internet access after all.

I could sit here and calmly and rationally discuss the many reasons why libraries are not only relevant, but also necessary during a recession like the one we’re in now; but instead, I’m offering up this video of librarian awesomeness.

If you feel the need to show your love for librarians or library science, Questionable Content has t-shirts and totes.

For more library fun, the New York Public Library donated space for an Improve Everywhere performance titled “Who you gonna call?”

Personally, I lost contact with my local libraries when I started pulling in enough money to purchase all the books I needed to feed my biblioholic habits – back before I had to start budgeting like an adult.  Now I’m lucky to get a new book a month (new or used), and there are so many new books and authors that I haven’t had a chance to read.  Maybe it IS time to get a new library card.