Tuesday, May 16, 2006

image problem?

LISNews.org reports on a couple of famous authors (Rowling, Rushdie) getting out to support public libraries. It seems that libraries in the U.K. have an image problem?

In the Guardian Unlimited article that the story's drawn from, Alain de Botton is quoted: "It's in walking into a library that most people first get the sense of how little they know... Surrounded by so many books, we are liable to feel how great our ignorance is, next to all the accumulated wisdom and insight of others."

Huh. Don't quite know how to respond to that... except to say that I hope that's not the cause of Britons' avoidance of libraries. I don't agree with it -- I lived in England, and I never got the impression that folks were scared of their books, or intimidated by the insights of others. If that is the problem, they've got bigger worries than dwindling library circulation. Anybody know more about this issue?

1 comment:

David said...

My local library in Richmond Surrey is being refurbished. They had a suggestions board up for a few weeks beforehand. It was gratifying to see the number of suggestions which basically said "more books, less gimmicks."
We have an excellent public library service here, and it is well used. Libraries (and librarians in particular) do worry that they have an image problem. Which is why it's good to find the occasional 'librarian with attitude'.