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What are public libraries for?

What are the things that puzzle, enrage, delight and tickle you as you go about your life in Madison?

Re: What are public libraries for?

Postby Huckleby » Thu May 02, 2013 4:10 pm

Uncle_Leaver wrote: I have absolutely no clue what that's even supposed to mean.
Yes, and you misunderstood all the rest of it too. I was not dissing library workers, on the contrary.
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Re: What are public libraries for?

Postby TheBookPolice » Thu May 02, 2013 4:19 pm

Huckleby wrote:As far as the straw-man argument that libraries can't duplicate *anything*, you're extrapolating my argument to an extreme. Lame and dishonest debating trick.

You wrote:

Huckleby wrote:When the library duplicates readily available services, it is less effective.

Seems more or less like you're arguing against duplication of services. But anyway, you also wrote:

Huckleby wrote:Why aren't we providing porn through the libraries? I'm serious.

What about pay-per-view extreme fighting? We could set up a community-subsidized theater in the library for such events.

If that's not reductio ad absurdum, I don't know what is. You said you were serious. My response, on the other hand, was framed as sarcasm (pretty obviously, I thought, with the "gee"), not a serious extrapolation of your dumb idea.

Huckleby wrote:
TheBookPolice wrote:You argue for exclusiveness and the primary acquisition and provision of rare or expensive items, and have the temerity to claim you're a library supporter

Again, you've distorted my position, and then followed with personal insults.
I never argued for exclusiveness. My *actual* positions: I don't think porn or video games are a good use of resources. I think a dollar copay is a reasonable expectation for video rentals from people who can easily afford it.

So, means testing then. Great idea! (SARCASM) But what about all that ballet and symphony content you think the public library should focus on? That's not exclusiveness?

Huckleby wrote:As far as expensive items, you continue to miss the point: the library is uniquely able to make expensive items available to people of modest means. This is inclusive and practical, and just one of several criteria for decision making.

And necessarily limiting, considering the finite budget available to public libraries. But that's not exclusiveness, clearly. (MORE SARCASM)
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Re: What are public libraries for?

Postby Huckleby » Thu May 02, 2013 4:53 pm

TheBookPolice wrote: So, means testing then. Great idea! (SARCASM) But what about all that ballet and symphony content you think the public library should focus on? That's not exclusiveness? ....And necessarily limiting, considering the finite budget available to public libraries. But that's not exclusiveness, clearly. (MORE SARCASM)


As far as means testing: just make it a dollar copay for all to borrow a DVD. Low income people can apply for permanent waiver from such fees. In fact, i think they already have a program like that. The library already has fees for some categories of borrowing, so none of this is impractical .

I encourage the library to invest in high quality materials from all genres. Often, the good stuff costs more, but I think it delivers greater value over time than just going for greater volume of budget items. This does not require that the library become exclusive and elite, there can be a balance.
I could give you specific examples of what I'm talking about, but you've already defined a collection that includes ballet & modern dance DVDs as "exclusive". I'm not sensing an opportunity for a respectful exchange of ideas here, so I'll leave you with your impression.
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Re: What are public libraries for?

Postby Huckleby » Thu May 02, 2013 5:01 pm

TheBookPolice wrote:
Huckleby wrote:When the library duplicates readily available services, it is less effective.

Seems more or less like you're arguing against duplication of services. But anyway, you also wrote:


Duplicating netflix makes little sense because it is relatively expensive, competes with other priorities without opening new opportunities to most Madisonians.

Duplicating coffee shop atmosphere is not a problem, no downside.

Not all duplication is unwelcome, but services that the library can uniquely provide are a big plus.
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Re: What are public libraries for?

Postby bdog » Thu May 02, 2013 5:27 pm

Huckleby wrote:I'm not sensing an opportunity for a respectful exchange of ideas here, so I'll leave you with your impression.

There outta be a button you can press that fills in exactly that text. It would prevent a lot of useless back and forth.

Sometime ago a local librarian was spotlighted (in WSJ I think). They asked her what her pet peeves were. She said holds that were not picked up. There should be a fine for that.
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Re: What are public libraries for?

Postby Huckleby » Thu May 02, 2013 6:14 pm

It's not that anybody here is particularly obnoxious, it's just the nature of online arguments. People tend to leap to strong conclusions about the nature and intentions of other people based on a few indicators. In a personal conversation, it's a lot easier to flesh out arguments fully, and dial back misunderstandings.

My overall view of the Madison library holdings is that it is a smartly chosen collection. The changes in emphasis I have in mind are minor tweaks.
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Re: What are public libraries for?

Postby pds » Thu May 02, 2013 7:27 pm

South Central Library System Library Use & Return on Investment Value Calculator - You enter how many items you use in each category (Books, Movies, CDs, etc.) and it calculates the value you receive for every $1 in taxes you spend on your library.

http://www.scls.info/pr/calculator/
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