July 1, 2022

Letter: Follow-up to “Are Libraries Doomed?”

To The Editor:

I just finished your article, “Are Libraries Doomed?“, and I wanted to say thank you.  It gave me pause to think that our new town library may never be built.  We have an aging, dilapidated Andrew Carnegie Library in our town that is not handicap accessible.  After a year of struggling to help raise funds to build a new library we find that we are up against those who believe a library will become obsolete.

I have a Kindle that I rarely use.  I have Kindle on my PC, eBooks on my iPad and have proofread for Gutenberg.  Nothing can replace the interaction of people at a public library.  A library is a place where you know you have something in common with the others there without even speaking a word to them.  It is comforting.  Nothing can replace a librarian who will direct you to what you are looking for in a matter of minutes.  A library is community.  I’ve never had anyone leaf through my coffee table picture book via my Kindle.

Recently, I searched the internet to make the case for why we still need libraries and I am so impressed that you have visited so many.  If we don’t need a library because of advances in technology and eBooks, then I ask, do we really need a tennis court in our park when citizens can go home and play tennis on their Wii?  And why should the citizens of our town go to city council meetings to make a case for a new library, when we can sit at home and attend via GoToMeeting.com?  Is this the type of community of the future where we will all further isolate ourselves and truly be a virtual community?  Technology is great, but is it good?

A baby shower was given for my daughter-in-law when my granddaughter was 4 months old.  It was a book shower to build her library.  The gift was to be one book that was your favorite as a child.  What a creative idea.  What could be more beautiful than a child pulling the books out of a cubby and having them strewn about on the floor around them? Then, crawling through them, selecting that one favorite book and opening it up to the colorful page while their eyes are wide with discovery.  One of my granddaughter’s favorites is, “The Monster at the End of this Book.”  I can’t imagine reading to her, “The Monster at the End of this Digital Reading Device”.  Yes!  There is one book that will have to stay in print,

“But for those against libraries, they do have a point.  Why waste ten minutes doing research in a library when you can spend three hours searching for the information on the internet?”  (I read this comment somewhere when searching the internet.  It is difficult to cite the origin, as you would cite a publication.  It may have been gray square, white male, silhouette, Anonymous.)

I didn’t find much when doing my search for making the case for a new library until I found your article.  We will continue to pursue our dreams of a new library and I am thankful I am able to share your insight on our library Facebook page.


Lisa Klein

Plainview, NE