Friday, May 13, 2005

Libraries as society's insurance against ignorance

Olkgal relates this incident where she changed this guy's view from "I-have-Google-I-don't-need-librarians-and-libraries" to "Librarians-are-still-important-but-I'm-still-skeptical-of-Libraries".

Good for her. She also asks what she could say to convince the guy of the need for libraries. Now I don't want to go into any debates about Google being a threat to libraries etc. This really seems like a perception issue, and maybe about the promotion of libraries.

The value of libraries is not apparent until you need it. It's a lot like Insurance. Until you make a claim, you think the premiums are a hassle.

Maybe like Insurance, the guy needs to make a "claim", i.e. use the library. Unlike Insurance, he doesn't need to get into any mishaps to benefit from that claim.

Hmm... Libraries as society's insurance against ignorance and mediocrity?

So how do I sell libraries like if I were to sell insurance? I need to think about this.

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  1. I must say that I personally felt that it wasn't Google that was a library-killer, but Borders.

    I don't use libraries much for reference: libraries don't reside in my room, nor do they always offer up-to-date information (and in my field of study - Computer Science - something a few months old could easily be outdated). I use libraries for fiction and non-fiction books that I want to read. Many of which I can read in Borders, also for free. Granted, I can't 'borrow' them from Borders, but I usually read fast enough to finish a book in one sitt-- I mean, standing.

  2. Actually I view Borders and other book retailers as our friends. The retailers carry larger volumes of the latest books while the public libraries retain them on a longer basis. Granted we don't have nearly enough copies (there can never be enough) but we allow books to be borrowed home. I've seen how Borders turn into another public library on weekends!


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