Saturday, March 10, 2012

What have they done to my library?

I just got back from a trip to the central branch of the county library downtown,and don't know right now whether to be sad, or frustrated, or angry.

They've remodeled, and as port of that remodeling, they've gotten rid of a lot of books. A lot. The adult non-fiction section doesn't seem to have suffered as badly as the adult fiction section, although both are considerably reduced. It is the state of the adult fiction section that has me dispirited, possibly because the non-fiction section has never been as up-to-date or inclusive as it could have been. But the fiction section seems to have been reduced by at least half and hidden in a back, ill-lit corner of the library. It seemed so...forlorn.

They have also gotten rid of over half the table space for patrons to sit down and read a book or work on projects. There are plenty of computers, and table space reserved only for those who have brought a laptop to work on. Which is not a bad thing. But the lack of seating makes the place seem much less welcoming.

I don't know what he idea is behind the changes. Maybe they've decided that no one really reads anymore. Or, perhaps, that the only people in the future who will have a right to read are those who can afford an e-reader. And perhaps they are trying to make the library less hospitable to the homeless. If that is so, I think it is unfortunate.

I don't know what they've done to the children;s and young adult sections. I was afraid to look, after seeing what they've done to the adult collections. I might not want to know.

I can't really write any more about this now. I'm still too upset about the changes to be entirely coherent.

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