Once again, it’s time to talk about the essential services libraries provide that aren’t just books
One of the truly great things about the internet is its ability to know when a bad idea is bad, and then tear it to absolute shreds. Twitter, in particular, is basically designed for this purpose. And boy did it deliver when a columnist wrote for Forbes that libraries should all be replaced by Amazon bookstores.
Obviously, that’s a stupid idea. And Twitter had no qualms about pointing that out.
Columnist Panos Mourdoukoutas, who serves as chair of the Department of Economics at Long Island University, made this argument because (get this) replacing libraries with Amazon bookstores would save people tax money. He argues that libraries are unnecessary because public events have moved to school auditoriums, and people read and hang out at Starbucks instead of the library. He also thinks technology has made books obsolete.
There’s a lot I could say about this, but Twitter already said it all, so I’ll just let the good people of the internet take this while I lie down and hope the vein in my forehead stops throbbing soon.
Basically, the idea that libraries are obsolete because technology can replace books is a whole lot of bullshit. There do, in our society, exist people who have no money and therefore can’t go hang out at Starbucks. Because remember what happens when people (especially those of color) try to hang out at Starbucks without buying anything?
Libraries also provide so much more than books, like classes, professional development, free computer and internet use — even a reprieve from extreme temperatures for people who are homeless.
Poor Mourdoukoutas has been engaging with Twitter, still trying to defend his idiotic take that libraries (libraries!) are the place to cut taxes.
According to an NBC News analysis in 2008, libraries account for about 0.2 percent of tax funding in the U.S. Just for kicks, compare that to 22 percent on Social Security, 20.3 percent on Medicare and Medicaid and 20 percent on military and defense. Compared to 0.2 percent on libraries. And libraries are where we go to cut taxes? Yeah, OK.
This isn’t even the first time someone has suggested eliminating libraries and been verbally body-slammed by the internet. You’d think these rich old assholes would learn, but apparently not.
This article was originally published on