Renovations to the New York public library’s 5’th avenue location will result in the removal of 2 million books. Is that a problem? Possibly, given there was no mention of making those books available in digital format at that location.
I must admit I am a late adopter to e-books. But after my recent move, where I carried countless boxes of books, I could not help but wonder “what if I had all my books in my iPad?” No more dragging books around from state to state.
Nevertheless, I am concerned about the state of libraries as centers for learning. For example, while at the University of Memphis I watched the administration fund a $50M university “center” complete with a donut shop. Meanwhile, the library was underfunded and losing subscriptions to resources. Why isn’t the library the “center” of a university?
I suspect the goal has shifted from educating young people to drawing them in with a social “center,” capturing and raising their tuition, and funding faculty research on topics that won’t help the students at the school where they “teach.”
So, NYPL plans to remove up to 2 million books from the 5th avenue location without making them available digitally. The University of Memphis chose to fund a party center over a learning center. How many out there have seen similar patterns in their respective locales?
P.S. Don’t get me started on questioning who decides which books go and which books stay…