This Saturday October 25th 8-9 PM on It’s A Question Of Balance with Ruth Copland we consider ‘Do we still need public libraries? In this age of the internet and e-books what is the role of the public library in society today? Thomas Jefferson in 1809 wrote “I have often thought that nothing would do more extensive good at small expense than the establishment of a small circulating library in every county”. Funding of libraries is constantly under attack in budget cuts and has seriously declined in recent years even though 90% of Americans say the closing of their local public library would impact their community*. Publishers are ambivalent or even hostile about libraries fearing reduced book sales. With their core mission of promoting reading, however, do libraries create new readers (and thus new purchasers)? 82% of Americans believe libraries should provide free literacy programs to young children*, which may include traditional reading, writing and comprehension as well as technology and new media literacies. Is this a good use of public money or should parents be responsible for providing these skills? Many people have home access to the internet for research and e-books but does this replace the cultural and intellectual experience of the library and its role as a vibrant community center? Is the library more than a repository of books? Libraries now provide free access to the internet and computers – is this as fundamental a right to information as the original intent of libraries providing access to books (and thus knowledge) for all people regardless of socio-economic standing? What do you think? I get the views of people in the local area for our Out and About feature. Join us on Saturday 8-9 PM! For more info on the show and to hear past shows visit www.itsaquestionofbalance.com
*Pew Research Center.