Saturday, May 21, 2011

More on endangered libraries

David Morris of the Institute for Self-Reliance:

"The word 'public' has been removed from the name of the Fort Worth Library.
Why? Simply put, to keep up with the times."

From the Media release on the rebranding of the Fort Worth Library

Fort Worth, you leave me speechless. You’re certainly correct about one thing. The public library is indeed an institution that has not kept up with the times. But given what has happened to our times, why do you see that as unhealthy? In an age of greed and selfishness, the public library stands as an enduring monument to the values of cooperation and sharing. In an age where global corporations stride the earth, the public library remains firmly rooted in the local community.

Morris has much more to say. (I was interested to learn that no public library closed its doors during the Great Depression.) He points to an alleged villain I had not heard of, the library privatization firm Library Systems & Services (LSSI).

In genealogy, we have gained useful access to a lot of information via some forms of privatization. Those who did research before existed can tell stories, and do. I think most would agree that Ancestry has been a net benefit to the field, even though there are aspects of its work that do not meet professional standards. With that rather general comparison in mind, are there librarians or library users out there who have a good word for LSSI?

(Hat tip to Sam Smith's "Undernews" newsletter.)

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