This post about libraries reminded me of this story about how Netflix is ending Saturday shipments.
Kevin Drum predicts,
And so it begins. A few years from now, I assume Netflix will be out of the physical disc business entirely, which means it will be impossible to watch anything more than a few years old.
Well no, not as long as public libraries are still around. Though big business interests are doing their best to keep urging tax cuts that end up closing libraries.
So here we are. Netflix has helped drive video rental places like Blockbuster out of business. Then Netflix begins to phase out DVD delivery to focus on their streaming business. Yet there’s strong evidence that internet providers like Verizon are deliberately throttling Netflix streams. And they’re also shifting customers to plans that resemble the ones for our mobile phones, with built-in caps and all kinds of extra fees and penalties for going over your allotted amount. Meanwhile, the U.S. has some of the worst internet service in the world.
Yeah, the unrestrained “free market” has done a wonderful job of providing us with all the books and movies we need in the most efficient manner.
The fact that the ALA shared this link is so gloriously bitter and angry and I love it.
Is there a portmanteau for that? Angritter? Bangry?
Shit, this doesn’t even touch on the fact that libraries have so much more to offer—they have invaluable references, comic books, audiobooks, audio cids, movies, computer software (some library systems even carry games), online services that can include free educational material including free access to language learning programs, etc. All of this paid for by your taxes and free to all to use. Libraries are fucking awesome and you don’t think so you can get out of my face.
So sure, go pay $120 a year to Amazon so that you can read a few books. Or, go to your public library and get a free card and expand your whole fucking universe.
^^^ This guy gets it.
To reassure skittish patrons like Mrs. McAdoo, libraries are training circulation staff members to look for carcasses and live insects. Some employees treat suspect books with heat before re-shelving them, to kill bedbugs, which are about the size of an apple seed when fully grown. Others vacuum the crevices of couches, and some furniture is being reupholstered with vinyl or leatherette to make it less hospitable to insects.
As Michael Potter, a professor of entomology at University of Kentucky in Lexington, noted: “There’s no question in past few years there are more and more reports of bedbugs showing up in libraries.”
What can a library do when people are cold, tired, hungry, and scared? The library brings them all the things it always does. It provides information, such as FEMA applications, where aid centers are set up, locations for Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders. It provides comfort: charge your cell phone, send an email, or just get out of the cold for a few minutes. It provides entertainment: books were lent whether people had a library card or not.
These are all the direct benefits, but there are many intangibles as well. Everyone knew that, even at their lowest point, the library was still there for them.
They’re currently collecting new and good-quality used children’s books and monetary donations. The flooding from Hurricane Sandy damaged a lot of books that were placed on lower shelves specifically for children.
Not a bizarre concept at all.
I used to find e-books on a website that had a huge selection of contemporary fiction and which used a semi-library model: you could download up to three files every two weeks (or something like that). It got too popular, so the site owner began charging monthly and yearly membership fees to cover bandwidth costs. If you paid the fee, you not only got access to everything, but you could download as many e-books as you wanted.
Given that, and how popular services like Netflix are, a legit version of an e-book store operating on a membership basis makes perfect sense to me.