Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I Don't Need No Liberry

I've just heard that the mayor of Oakland is considering closing a passel of local libraries, including the one that my family frequents, in order to close our $58 million deficit. To which I say, Huzzah! Who needs libraries anyways?

I mean, what American taxpayer even reads books anymore? They're outmoded. The Google search bar can find any information that anyone with a computer or a smartphone or an iPad needs - and that's virtually everyone. ( I mean, it's not as though there are huge swaths of people in this country who struggle to pay for rent or food, let alone broadband access, these days.)  Why bother losing yourself for 72 straight hours in "The Josephine Bonaparte Trilogy" by Sandra Gulland when you can just type "Who was Josephine Bonaparte" into a search engine? It's much more efficient, and prevents you from delving into messy and unwanted French and Caribbean history, not to mention spares you from envisioning dead people as living, breathing beings whose lives influenced the course of history.

We all know that every single piece of knowledge in the world has been digitized by now, and if it's on the Internet it's true. So the argument that librarians can help separate the wheat from the information chaff is a false construct, meant to preserve jobs. Did you know that public librarians earn, on average, $350,000 each year and get summers off and get free massages? It's true, I read it on www.utterflamingnonsense.com, which seems like a very credible site. No wonder we're falling into the ocean, public debt-wise. Stop blaming the corporate titans and their wonder-bonuses; it's those fat cat librarians.

Speaking of public debt, how about we start making those giant, cushy, cavernous public libraries finally pay their own way? The American way is about earning money, not about lending things out for free. Ditch the books and put in some retail, that's my advice. A couple of shops, a few fast food restaurants, a nail salon, maybe a gaming arcade where the kids can hang out.

By converting libraries into malls, we'd head off the naysayers who see public libraries as "community centers." Come on. What kid wants to visit at a quiet library to do homework and check out a new novel or how-to book about science, when the alternative is to roam a mall with his friends? For the parents who bring their young kids by for story time and crafts,  I say: check out the kids' channels on cable TV and park your youngsters there. 

And as for the people who come to the library to meet with English language tutors and take citizenship classes so that they can take part in our representative democracy, well, you can probably guess where I think they could go instead. 

Look, if you need any further proof that libraries don't matter, take a look at me. Why, I haven't willingly set foot in a library or cracked a book since Aristonphanes Middle School, and I turned out just fine.

P.S. If this post makes you mad, good. Click on http://saveoaklandlibrary.org/, or look for a similar organization defending the role of public libraries in your neck of the woods, and take action!

7 comments:

  1. Way to go Nancy! Thanks for speaking out for public libraries, heck, for all libraries!

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  2. I just don't get the whole trend of people not reading real, hardback, page turning books. Even the smell of the library appeals to me. I would be livid also. Here are libraries are crowded. Truly it is hard to find a parking spot. Maybe Kansans are living in the dark ages.

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  3. Oh, I got so caught up on the library issue, that I forgot to tell you. I have something for you over at my blog.

    http://artofbeingconflicted.com

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  4. And who wants to listen to free concerts or visit a free art gallery. i mean, really!

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  5. Awesome writing - Thank you!

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  6. thanks all! I'm glad it's getting passed around - and that people realize it's satire. When I read a rough draft of this to a friend she said, "you're a little too convincing, now I hate libraries." So I had to rachet it back a smidge...

    and Cheryl thank you so much for the honor! Versatility is one of my 15 middle names.

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  7. Love this post. Hilarious. To add to your argument, I'd say because our public schools don't expect much from our students these days, our standards have declined so much that libraries are utterly useless.

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