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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Oh H#ck No! We Won't Go!

It's a mad, crazy web of information out in this crazy world. Going through the maze on one's own means either two things: one, the information seeker is braver than the average bear or two, the information seeker is a trained professional, otherwise known as a librarian. If it's a slow day, librarians all over the world will hear a hundred times that the internet will replace the need for a library. On Saturdays, that number triples. Since the 1990's the proverbial "they", also known as the unknown professional/gurus have been dispensing this knowledge. Truth be told, that line is getting quite old and "they" should realize by now that libraries aren't going anywhere.

A good illustration as to why the libraries won't become instinct is the American Revolution. Sounds crazy, but it's true. The ideals that gave birth to our nation is equality and accountability. Libraries provide that for every citizen in every American town. This spirit of Independence has not faded from our society. As a matter of fact, whenever Americans are feeling that their First Amendment rights are being violated, they shout even louder. Which gives great comfort in knowing that Americans will always put a good fight to protect their rights. For a moment let's take the scenario that the Internet is the end all and be all of information sources. If the internet is allowed to become the only source of information, how long would it take for just one company (Google perhaps?) to control what information to be consumed for the good of the country? For that matter, who's to say that a government couldn't control Internet searches. One country comes to mind that has done just that: CHINA. That is why libraries will continue to be at the forefront of providing equal access to all information.

It is with this Independent spirit that Benjamin Franklin might have come up with the idea of the public library. Libraries are equal opportunity institutions in that anyone is free to step inside to browse the collection, share stories and learn. Family literacy begins in the library and continues to make the community that it serves better and stronger. An educated society is a society that will flurish. Isn't that what everyone hopes for the next generation? Sure the internet may provide some access to information. However, casual observers of how television programming has developed over the years, will point out that it would not be surprising to see pay per view for websites. This has already begun, and it has a the possibility of exploding to the point where only a few websites will be free and the rest of the net will be accessible to subscribing costumers only. Another reason why libraries won't go!

In the spirit of the Founding Fathers, who basically told the British monarchy where they can stick their tea, libraries should gather all the "articles" and "scholarly" journals that put the internet on a pedestal and throw them "out to sea". Libraries support the patron's right to have access to a variety of sources in which to browse. It should be added that information that enriches everyone lives should be available,accessible and in a manner of speaking "free" for the asking. While the rest of the world believes that the internet is a one size fits all solution for information. Librarians have always known that all information is not equal. In a round about way, the internet has given libraries a new life line. Ironic since "they" say the Internet will bury the library.
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