Posted by: bluesyemre | November 3, 2015

Hey #Airbnb, take it easy on #libraries, they’re leading the charge in #tech more than ever


Libraries recently drew unexpected fire from Airbnb, one of tech’s hottest startups. But the truth is libraries play an essential role in fostering technological innovation in communities. Last week technology giant Airbnb was heavily scrutinized for a series of advertisements that took a jab at libraries and other taxpayer-funded institutions placed around the company’s home city of San Francisco.

The advertisements mocked public services allegedly funded in part by the company’s recent $12 million tax bill (though some disputed how far Airbnb’s tax contribution actually went). Airbnb is valued at close to $25 billion and it has raised nearly $2.3 billion in funding since 2008. The advertisements on billboards and posters around San Francisco were placed in response to Proposition F, an amendment that would tax and regulate Airbnb inside the city of San Francisco by restricting the number of days a private residence can be rented, and requiring renters to file quarterly reports with the city.

The advertisements were perceived as insensitive, and quickly animated public workers and librarians across the country who used social media services to verbalize how libraries play a vital role in community development by working at the forefront of technology and making information accessible to the public.

Technology and innovation, said Tana Elias, Digital Services & Marketing Manager at the Madison Public Library, are in the DNA of the modern public library. “It’s important to remember that books were the original information technology,” said Elias. “So were other forms of media like cassettes, vinyl, laser discs and CDs. Technology changes, and so do libraries.”

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