WILL UNWOUND #754: ‘Fingernail on the Chalk Board”May 10, 2012
In my days as a library director there were four pet sayings that city managers and city council members used to vocalize that drove me nuts. Each one was the proverbial fingernail on the chalk board:
- Run Your Library Like a Business…Oh really, which business? Lehman Brothers? Borders? Halliburton? British Petroleum? Kodak? Joe’s Barber Shop? Tiffany’s Gentleman’s Club? Wait. I agree…this is a perfect idea for our library. We want to be just like General Motors and get a billion dollar bailout!
- We don’t need a public library because we have a university library in town…Oh really, tell that to all the high IQ family members of all the professors at the university that they don’t merit a library of their own. Tell our patrons exactly where they will be able to park to get to the university library. Tell the university library patrons to expect an onslaught of kids, drunks, druggies, and homeless in the groves of academia. Oh, and my academic brethren, be prepared for the digital novice who wants to know where the “any” key is on the computer catalog (as in “start by hitting any key”).
- Put your branch libraries into the schools and combine them with the school libraries…Oh really? How are you going to screen out the drunks and perverts? And by the way, where are you going to shelve 50 Shades of Grey?
- The library should be put on a pay for play basis just like the parks and recreation department…Oh really? The library is an educational institution. Does that mean we put the public schools on a pay for play basis too? Are we equating reading to hitting a golf ball? Of course if you have turned your library into a recreational smorgasbord of video games, dvds, and pop fiction, this issue might present a problem.