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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 » Wed May 01, 2013 3:44 pm

Stebben84 wrote:Don't they also do books on CD. Where does that fall into the mix?


These are all judgement calls. Books on CD stimulate the imagination, good stuff.

In general, I'm supportive of the library carrying music, because full-length CDs can be expensive for individuals to explore on their own budgets.

I'm a music maniac, and have taken great advantage of the library over the years. I like to explore, not own stuff.
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Re: What are public libraries for?

Postby TheBookPolice » Wed May 01, 2013 3:48 pm

Huckleby wrote:I can see relatively little good in the library ... as a provider of pulp culture.

I am for a generous library.

The library certainly should be buying special interest DVDs that tend to be expensive and hard to find ... modern dance, ballet, theater, opera. Or well done, expensive audio box sets that individuals can't easily access.

I love libraries, one of our last bastions of community cooperation. I want them to be better, not smaller.

I think what you're looking for is a Victorian boarding school, Little Lord Fauntleroy. You keep saying expensive, and yet you apparently don't think the library will be smaller as a result.

Also, what's with all the spaces? Thank god they don't show up in the published posts.
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Re: What are public libraries for?

Postby Huckleby » Wed May 01, 2013 3:54 pm

TheBookPolice wrote: I think what you're looking for is a Victorian boarding school, Little Lord Fauntleroy. You keep saying expensive, and yet you apparently don't think the library will be smaller as a result.

Since I object to the value of "Your Momma's House" movie being shuttled around Southern Wisconson, the only alternative is a Victorian boarding school. That's some critical thinking there.

I don't get your logic on expensive and smaller. My point is that the library should be focused on acquiring materials that are hard for individuals to buy or rent on their own. This does not lead to a smaller or larger library.
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Re: What are public libraries for?

Postby TheBookPolice » Wed May 01, 2013 4:08 pm

Huckleby wrote:I don't get your logic on expensive and smaller. My point is that the library should be focused on acquiring materials that are hard for individuals to buy or rent on their own. This does not lead to a smaller or larger library.

You also wrote "expensive" at least twice in reference to these more high-minded materials. So unless you're writing in an increased municipal budget allocation for the public library system, this Marvel of the Gilded Age collection you have in mind will come at the expense of the overall depth and width of the library's holdings. To say nothing of the man-hours expended on determining what's hard to find and then finding it.
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Re: What are public libraries for?

Postby Huckleby » Wed May 01, 2013 4:33 pm

TheBookPolice wrote: You also wrote "expensive" at least twice in reference to these more high-minded materials.

It's not cheap for the library to meet the demand for "Scary Movie IX". They have to buy a lot of copies, then shuffle them around the fruited plain on the ILL express. Lots of people want to see a free movie, why not?
There are better uses for the money. Give me a couple hours and I will find you ten.

TheBookPolice wrote:you have in mind will come at the expense of the overall depth and width of the library's holdings. To say nothing of the man-hours expended on determining what's hard to find and then finding it.
Are you suggesting the library doesn't already spend time selecting materials? Of course they do. I ask again, why no porn for Madison adults?

"Depth and width" - give me a break. There is little value to the the library collecting all the popular movie releases that soon fall out of interest. If you want to run a Netflix, I suggest the patrons should pay something for it.
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Re: What are public libraries for?

Postby snoqueen » Wed May 01, 2013 5:06 pm

The idea is to give all people, without any financial qualifications, the ability to access materials they want (within reason -- you have to get your porn somewhere else). To some people, seeing a movie is as important as reading a book, so to restrict access to only paper-print materials is primitive and obtuse.
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Re: What are public libraries for?

Postby Huckleby » Wed May 01, 2013 8:54 pm

snoqueen wrote: (within reason -- you have to get your porn somewhere else). To some people, seeing a movie is as important as reading a book, so to restrict access to only paper-print materials is primitive and obtuse.


Why is porn not "within reason"? To some people, seeing a porn movie is as important as reading a book or viewing an "Evil Dead III" DVD, so to restrict access to only hollywood movies is primitive and obtuse.

We haven't discussed video games. I'm not sure, but I suspect the library is providing video games as well. Does that fall within your "within reason" standard, or your idea of the purpose of a public library?

This is not a black and white issue where the choices are obvious, and those who see it differently are primitive and obtuse.

I never suggested access should be paper-print only, not even close. However, I don't think that libraries should invest a lot of resources and staff time in video games or popular movies that can be cheaply rented at Blockbuster. I don't see any public interest in duplicating Blockbuster & Netflix, especially since it invariably comes at the expense of providing other resources - online subscriptions to information databases, magazines, new editions of books, electronic books, impressive music box sets. These are resources the average person can't so easily access on their own. My solution is to tamp down the video-store aspect by requiring a $1 copay from patrons. Actually, that is how it used to work years ago.

What I see with the DVD service is it mostly represents a subsidy to people who most aggressively pursue freebies, resulting in little cultural contribution to the community as a whole. That's not the whole story, maybe some people who genuinely can't afford to rent a DVD get some access.
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Re: What are public libraries for?

Postby Uncle_Leaver » Wed May 01, 2013 9:20 pm

Huckleby wrote:Why is porn not "within reason"?

Well, for one, as a matter of pure political pragmatism, the fastest way to ensure the outrage of the Moral Majority types and subsequent defunding of the public library system as a whole would be to start spending tax payers' dollars on porn.

You're betraying yourself as a flaming elitist. You keep referring to this idea that collections should comprise those items people cannot reasonably afford. Well, guess what? Some people don't have ANY money to spend on reading material, or music, or movies, or video games because they spend every last dime keeping the heat on and their children fed. Do you want to live in a world where the joys of cultural enlightenment are reserved only for those with disposable income? I sure fuckin' don't.

Climb off your high horse, man. Your interpretation of what is intellectually stimulating and worthy of the pittance required to ship via non-profit media mail rates is yours and yours alone.
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Re: What are public libraries for?

Postby snoqueen » Wed May 01, 2013 9:49 pm

What I see with the DVD service is it mostly represents a subsidy to people who most aggressively pursue freebies, resulting in little cultural contribution to the community as a whole.


Thank you, Mitt Romney.
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Re: What are public libraries for?

Postby Huckleby » Wed May 01, 2013 10:01 pm

Uncle_Leaver wrote: You're betraying yourself as a flaming elitist. You keep referring to this idea that collections should comprise those items people cannot reasonably afford.


That's not quite what I am saying. It's a question of emphasis. I wouldn't eliminate movies.

Uncle_Leaver wrote: Well, guess what? Some people don't have ANY money to spend on reading material, or music, or movies, or video games because they spend every last dime keeping the heat on and their children fed. Do you want to live in a world where the joys of cultural enlightenment are reserved only for those with disposable income?


I've repeatedly acknowledged the validity of this side of the argument, you are flogging a straw man.
All I've proposed would be to charge a modest copay for renting movies. Perhaps low income people could be exempted from co-pays.

Uncle_Leaver wrote:Climb off your high horse, man. Your interpretation of what is intellectually stimulating and worthy of the pittance required to ship via non-profit media mail rates is yours and yours alone.

What is "non-profit media mail"? The movies are being trucked-around through the inter-library loan system, it's a lot of overhead and maintaining a video-store-on-steroids.

My horse is not high just because I suggest that a library system should have a purpose, and choices should serve that purpose.

What purpose do you see in a public library? Is that purpose served by the library providing video games?
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Re: What are public libraries for?

Postby Huckleby » Wed May 01, 2013 10:03 pm

snoqueen wrote:
What I see with the DVD service is it mostly represents a subsidy to people who most aggressively pursue freebies, resulting in little cultural contribution to the community as a whole.


Thank you, Mitt Romney.


I'm not for cutting spending on libraries. I'm for maximizing the impact of libraries in spreading access to culture. Movies are low bang for buck.
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Re: What are public libraries for?

Postby Stu Levitan » Wed May 01, 2013 10:10 pm

What the Madison Public Library is for.
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Re: What are public libraries for?

Postby bdog » Thu May 02, 2013 7:34 am

snoqueen wrote:
What I see with the DVD service is it mostly represents a subsidy to people who most aggressively pursue freebies, resulting in little cultural contribution to the community as a whole.


Thank you, Mitt Romney.

Romney? Hardly? A lot of these "moochers" are quite well off financially. They accumulated their wealth because they are penny pinchers. They could very easily afford Huckleby's copay.

It would not be a good idea across the board though.

One thing that is NOT the purpose of a library - to show off to other cities. In the last big library discussion when there was going to be a brand new central library, this was my concern. Madison does not need a crown jewel library, it needs a library SYSTEM that makes the most materials available to the most people.
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Re: What are public libraries for?

Postby Huckleby » Thu May 02, 2013 7:57 am

http://www.madisonpubliclibrary.org/abo ... and-vision
Madison Public Library Mission
Madison Public Library provides free and equitable access to cultural and educational experiences. We celebrate ideas, promote creativity, connect people and enrich lives.

*************************************************************************************************************

I agree that free movies are in keeping with the mission statement of the library when it comes to low income people. The problem is that using the ILL system to shuffle available titles around Southern WI amounts to running an expensive and inefficient video store. The frugal middle & upper class, who I take to be the main beneficiaries, already have cheap and superior access to DVDs via Netflix, 4-Star Video, Blockbuster, RedBox. Providing free DVDs and Video Games takes staff & acquisitions away from better uses, weakens the ability of the library to fulfill its mission.

Perhaps the solution is to do nothing, since the perfect is the enemy of the good. But I don't think the idea of a copay for those who can afford it should be dismissed as a right wing plot.
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Re: What are public libraries for?

Postby rabble » Thu May 02, 2013 8:06 am

Huckleby wrote:I agree that free movies are in keeping with the mission statement of the library when it comes to low income people. The problem is that using the ILL system to shuffle available titles around Southern WI amounts to running an expensive and inefficient video store.

I'm a little confused. You're speaking of it as though it was a completely separate system. Aren't we also using that same process to shuffle around books, periodicals, and all the other lending materials? I can see where including videos increases the cost somewhat but not all that much.
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