Saturday, January 17, 2009

What a Bargain

There's a post on the Freakonomics blog (via New York Times, which I found as a link via Tim Spalding's Facbook Page - and if that doesn't challenge the Information Literacy Standards insistence that research starts with identifying an information need, I don't know what does ... but I digress, as I almost always do when finding information) about the soaring use of libraries in tough economic times. Read the comments. It will do your heart good to hear how much people value their libraries and the whole idea of public libraries as a communal resource. There are notes on the proposed closure of Philadelphia library branches (a huge controversy in the city) and some about closures of entire library systems in Oregon due to lack of funding and a reluctance to increase taxes that lasted nearly two years (!!!!), but there are also proud descriptions of libraries that provide their communities enormous value.

There is also a comment that amused and dismayed me. (It's comment #52 on page 3.) At a newly-opened library in Connecticut there are all kinds of innovations, including this one:
The Dewey Decimal system is gone. Books are arranged by subject.
That qualifies as the most inadvertantly damning critique of library organizations I've ever encountered.

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