Posted by: bluesyemre | August 1, 2014

Libraries Are Not a “Netflix” for Books by Kelly Jensen

  • If there’s one phrase I dislike more than the latest company touting itself as the “Netflix for books,” it’s when the retort is that such a thing already exists and it’s called the library. The library is not a Netflix for books. While there are plenty of reasons a company would want to step in and create something as successful as Netflix but for books, the comparison made to how libraries already fulfill this role is a false one at best. It’s a reductive and problematic comparison. Netflix is a company. Its profit-based goals serve subscribers who pay a monthly fee for different levels of product: they can borrow streaming-only content or a varying number of DVDs in addition to streaming content. Private citizens pay private cash in order to access the goods. It’s not equitable and it’s not meant to be. Some people can afford to spend money on a new Ferrari while others can only afford to purchase a 10-year-old car and still others can’t pay for a car at all, so they have to walk or rely on various forms of public transportation to get them where they’re going. Libraries — at least public libraries in the U.S. and Canada — are not private companies. Their goals are not on profit and not built upon those who can afford to pay for the services. Rather, public libraries are one of the few institutions where any and all citizens, regardless of their income or abilities to pay, may receive equitable access and service. It doesn’t matter whether you park a Ferrari or a used car in the library parking lot or you walk or take public transit to the library. When you walk in that door, you are treated equally and you are able to do and access the same things as everyone else (minor restrictions apply based on individual libraries, but those are special cases and not the norm). It is not the goal of the library to make money. Nor is it the goal of the library to create levels of service so that those who can afford to indulge will receive more while those who can’t, don’t. Instead, libraries work to ensure their services reach as many facets of their community as possible. Libraries want to offer what they can to those who have nothing and those who maybe have everything. The library is the center and the heart of community.

Source: http://bookriot.com/2014/07/15/libraries-netflix-books/


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