Thursday, June 3, 2010

Who Gains When Libraries Close?

If this were the 1970s and I were Robert Redford, I would find the conspiracy in the closing of libraries. I would follow the money to find who benefits from a nation of no libraries.

After all, it's the elected officials who want to cut library budgets: governors, mayors, city council members. And these people accept thousands of dollars from individuals and groups for their election campaigns. If I were a conspiracy nut, I would look into just who is giving these politicians their money to see if any of it comes from anti-library groups.

So what do libraries do that might threaten a greedy, Mr. Big?

Here is a good article which summarizes many of the great things that libraries do:
"If you're looking for something that your local library doesn't have—a hot new bestseller, that DVD box set of your favorite TV show, a classic picture book from your own childhood, or anything at all—you can go to the MAIN website and see if it's available in any of Morris County's libraries. If any of them have what you're looking for, they will send it to your library, where you can pick it up, in a matter of days. Your library will even call you when it gets there. It's easy, convenient, and absolutely free..."
So libraries loan DVDs and will send them to a branch conveniently closer to you. So this could threaten Best Buy, Netflix, Blockbuster... any company that sells or rents DVDs. And books. Barnes & Noble and Amazon are also prime suspects.

The same with the free Internet libraries provide. This could threaten any Internet Service Provider. $30 a month for each of you without us.

And CDs: could the Recording Industry Association of America be the evil agency out to seal our doom? Without libraries, you'd need to spend 99 cents for that downloaded GaGa fix or $10-$18 for that CD.

And News and Research. Libraries provide magazines and newspapers and online databases loaded with information that would be too expensive for you to purchase on your own. But we buy much of it in bulk at a discount. Could our villain be Rupert Murdoch?

In a country of no libraries, people would need to purchase all this information and entertainment for themselves with none of the benefits from the collective bargaining that libraries manage when they purchase through systems and consortia.

If I were Robert Redford in a 1970's movie or a crazy person who thinks he's Robert Redford, I'd be all over those governors and mayors until I found the truth. I'd find the evidence of the corruption that went all the way to the top. I'd find the conspirators and expose them and make them pay. But only after I had sex with Faye Dunaway.