Earlier this month a George Elmore wrote an opinion piece in the Gainesville Sun proposing that all money, staff and resources for public libraries in the state be cut and "repurposed". His main argument is that, according to his calculations, each visit to a public library costs $15.00 and that money would be better spent going back to the taxpayer. Below is the core of his argument--what do you think of his arguments?
Pull the plug on the libraryBy GEORGE ELMORESpecial to The Sun March 2, 2008
Historically the public library has been a valued research institution, and has served that purpose admirably. But no more. With the advent of the Internet and Google, virtually no serious research is carried on in the library stacks.
Recreational reading? If not done online, then one can go to any of the big box bookstores and read to one's heart content and even have coffee.
Books to take home? They are almost free at Hospice, Goodwill, Pet Rescue and other charitable outlets. At garage sales on any Saturday, $5 will buy anybody a year's worth of recreational, if not educational, reading. I hardly need mention that twice a year the Friends of the Library sells thousands of books at 10 cents each.
No Internet access? This may be a problem for a tiny minority, but just a small portion of the library budget for a single year would purchase Internet-ready laptops for any and all who would qualify. If a person can make it to the library for access, I am sure he or she can make it to Starbucks or Books-A-Million for the link-up.