Wednesday 20 February 2013
The value of libraries
I may be a couple of days late to this argument, but I've just been sent this article Terry Deary on Libraries in which Terry Deary, of Horrible Histories fame, says he thinks libraries are an out of date concept and are ripping off authors by circulating their books for free.
The fact that the comments come from an author who I have often praised and raved about to friends and library customers for his genius in making history interesting and accessible to kids is disappointing.
However, after reading various articles in response to Deary's comments and the number of authors who have criticized the comments and indicated their huge support for libraries and reading the comments sections of the articles, I wonder if maybe the comments might work out to be a positive thing for libraries?
Many comments include lines such as 'I would never have heard of Terry Deary if not for the local library;' 'I often discover new authors in the library and then go and purchase their books;' and 'Libraries create readers.' There is a lot of support for libraries out there, who may now join the conversation more about the scary situation in the UK for libraries. Will people reflect more about the contribution that libraries have made to their lives?
Arguments have also been raised that it isn't libraries that are ripping authors off, but the likes of businesses such as Amazon and publishers. Libraries and bookshops have coexisted for many years quite peacefully, and it could be argued that the customers who buy from the bookstores may have got their bookloving start from the library.
I'm very impressed by the quick response of many to defend libraries and shout out what the values of the library are- which is much more than monetary.
What do you think? Could this be the start of the Library User Uprising that the UK so desperately needs?