What exactly is a library anyway?

The Mayor of Des Plaines, IL is ripping the library staff for requesting a bank loan to cover their expenses because there is a delay of Cook County property taxes. And here’s the kicker. He says that they would be ok if they would just go back to doing what they do best – loaning  books. Oh I’m sorry “more basic reading material”.

THIS.
ENRAGES.
ME.

His tone and choice of words is painfully condescending. It’s the equivalent of patting them on their heads and telling them to run along because the big boys will be talking now.

His ignorance on what a library is today is amazing. Unfortunately, the mission statement of the Des Plaines Public Library does not appear to be online, but for most it’s about providing INFORMATION and RESOURCES to people. It does not limit it to a certain type of media because as everyone knows, media changes quickly while your mission should not.

He says he’s heard from the community that the library should not be loaning DVDs and CDs. I have not seen the circulation stats of the Des Plaines library, but I’m going to guess based on other public library’s statistics, that those materials are some of their more well circulated items. And I suspect if they were to take it away, that same public would have a large outcry because they were having material taken away from them.

According to the article, the library already has steep cuts in place for 2011 including cutting 10 positions. No one likes a reduction of staff and in most cases, it’s a last resort like reduction in hours and closing a branch. It sounds like Des Plaines is taking the necessary steps to do what they can do to meet the budget cut. They don’t need their Mayor telling them how to do their job.

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About indie librarian

a recently MLS librarian's observations
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