Nothing like a good book

In some ways following on from my post last week concerning CDs being irrelevant in this modern ages, we have another marvel of society being threatened…the book. Or, more specifically, the local library.

Cultural Minister Margaret Hodge has said that “radical modernisation is required if they are to remain relevant”, and that they are “sleepwalking into the era of the iPhone, the eBook and the Xbox, without a strategy.”

Now this may just be me but I think this is a bit too much? “Sleeping walking into the era of the iPhone and Xbox”?  Are these things really a threat to libraries? If people have research to do, I feel I can guarantee that they aren’t going to turn to their xboxes for help (well they may well turn to them, but it won’t help them, just make that last minute rush of work all the more frantic). And the ebook? Really? How many people actually own those things? Hardly invention of the year if you ask me.

I don’t even feel that libraries are a place that should ONLY be used for study. Of course they’re quiet and offer some great reference material, but there’s so much more to them than that. I was over the moon when the new Cardiff library opened, offering a great new variety of books for my consumption. Libraries are above all a great way to read books without having to buy them. There’s nothing more disappointing than buying a book you’ve really looked forward to only to find out that it’s not that good. Trust me I’ve been there. With libraries you have the luxury of reading the book and then if you enjoy it and feel like you may read it again you can buy it and add it to your collection. And nowadays this doesn’t even just apply to books, most libraries stock CDs and DVDs these days…I’ve even been to ones that have video games. That’s right, VIDEO GAMES, you know, for ENTERTAINMENT. Of course they usually charge a fee for these, but its only about 50p/£1 for a week so you’re getting a far better deal that you would in Blockbuster or any other rental shop. They keep up with the times pretty well too, my local library (in Aberdare, which basically equates to the middle of nowhere) had the latest Iron Maiden album (which is great by the way!), so if a dingy little town can get stuff in that quickly, imagine what you’d get in a big city library.

However Ms Hodge isn’t full of bad ideas, she’s also spoken about he possibility of using a system where the public can order books online and have them delivered to their homes, as well as a loyalty card scheme. While I’m not so big on the order online thing (sounds a bit like a “Love Film” for literature, and lazy people) I’d be quite interested to see how exactly a library would tackle a loyalty card scheme.

I personally think libraries are doing a pretty good job of bringing themselves up to date, and if you don’t think so then you probably don’t visit your local library all that often. And I pity you, because you have no idea what you’re missing…

As usual, the original article can be found here.

Published in: on December 1, 2009 at 4:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,