Give Me Libraries or Give me Amazon

Everyone is entitled to their opinions. Be they right, wrong or somewhere in between. Only caveat I would recommend is when you air an opinion you make sure that you stop and think it through. Recently someone using the username Freemarket commented on a post by Amy De Groff on Open Source – Library Life on the Bleeding Edge. I will agree with this person partially as it is true that commercial sites like Amazon have been able to provide features that library ILS or catalogs haven’t yet been able to do. However, I would like to point out that Amazon, and other commercial sites, have very different goals, missions and visions than libraries.

However, this person’s statement “I would much rather have lower taxes and no libraries than have the government steal my money and purchase books that I don’t even want. Compared to Amazon, libraries are a joke.” just didn’t sit right with me. Last time I checked the library wasn’t for one person but for all. I understand that their taxes are going to buy items perhaps that tthey don’t like, want or deem worthy. However, I’m would say there has to be at least 1 item in 262,600 titles that they care about. No one ever said that 100% of your taxes would be spent solely on programs, initiatives or things that you value. If so, then my taxes wouldn’t have gone to fund the War in Iraq and many other things that I don’t approve.

You have the right to spend your money as you see fit (purchase). You also have the right to have your taxes spent as you see fit by voting into office the people who feel as you do. You even have the right to air your opinions. However, you do not have the right to expect that 100% of your taxes will be spent on 100% of the areas that mean the most to you.

Libraries provide a lot more good to the community than Amazon does. When is the last time Amazon educated a child? helped someone recently laid off to find a job? helped a teen with homework? provide free access to all information? or many other wonderful services the library provides?

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One Response to Give Me Libraries or Give me Amazon

  1. P.C. Sweeney says:

    True, and statements like that also deny the fact that libraries save communities millions of dollars. For example our library has saved our community of 38,000 people over 7 million dollars and they only spend one million per year. That’s a little over two dollars a month spent and 14 dollars saved. what other investment has that kind of returns?

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