When I look back now, growing up I had an obsession with quotes. I’d be amazed at how a short phrase could capture such emotion. Fast forward to the end of my college career, and I had become an English Language and Literature graduate. There were long days of classes, and nights reading and analyzing different pieces of literature which had changed my whole thought process in everyday life.
I write this post in defending the purpose of libraries everywhere.
Recently, I had found on Twitter that Forbes writer, Panos Mourdoukoutas, had written an article titled “Amazon Should Replace Local Libraries to Save Taxpayers Money.” His main argument was that libraries weren’t as “free” as we believed them to be; he stated that places like Blockbuster went out of business because of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon, so why not put libraries out of use? I won’t lie, I retweeted the article with the comment, “Dumbest idea…” After the article was published, Mourdoukoutas tweeted:
“Let me clarify something. Local libraries aren’t free. Home owners must pay a local library tax. My bill is $495/year.”
In a matter of days and hours, this article had went viral on Twitter. I found on Twitter that a local library located in Rochester, New York, Irondequoit Library, had fired back at the Forbes op-ed piece with statistics that had shut down Mourdoukoutas’ position. Listed below are just a few of the statistics Irondequoit Library provided:
“In 2017, Pew Research reported that approximately 112 million adults had used a library card in the last year.”
“According to JustWatch.com, you can stream 4,894 titles on Netflix and 16,147 on Amazon. The total subscription cost is about $20 a month. The Irondequoit Library offers free DVD and Blu-ray rentals, and our catalog currently includes around 16,000 titles.”
“As reported by Forbes, ebook sales dropped in 2017 while print sales rose.”
How’s that for defending the service that libraries provide?
I personally do not own a library card, because I personally love the excitement of owning books. For those who believe that libraries should be taken over, and become non-existent like Blockbuster, let me explain something:
The peace and quiet of a library reminds us that in the chaos of life, peace still exists. The hundreds and thousands of books that sit upon those shelves show us readers that there are limitless opportunities for us to escape into the story of a book. Also, libraries show us that our chance at an education is never gone. The library is a place full of characters waiting to meet us, and waiting to inspire us.
*Please note that today as I was writing this, I learned that the Forbes article is not available on the site anymore. I believe it may have been pulled after the reaction it got.*