A couple of days ago, I made a comment on Patch as a private citizen in an article about Rush Limbaugh that could be taken as critical of him. Someone saw me at the Library, said they'd seen the comment, and cracked that I probably didn't stock books by Limbaugh on our shelves.
Well, of course I do; I'm a professional. I buy lots of books by people I don't like or on topics I have no interest in, because my tax-paying patrons want them. One of the goals of any librarian is to be able to say that nobody can tell what their personal biases are by looking at their library shelves.
Among the fundamental purposes of the free public library is the education of an informed citizenry. The best way to ensure this is to stock books (CDs, DVDs, etc.) from every point of view. It's been said that if a library doesn't have something to offend everyone, it's not doing its job. Liberals don't have all the answers, conservatives don't have all the answers. Libraries have an obligation to present all sides of every argument, so that people can make up their own minds.
This is especially important nowadays, in the age of niche marketing and targeted search, when a person can go a long time without hearing anything that challenges their preconceptions. (And I don't think political ads count, since they are basically just selling a product.) Targeted Internet searching especially worries me: when you do a search, Google will serve up only results it thinks you will like. So much for discovering new facts. I used to like to browse encyclopedias, and I was always finding out new things. But Google, the "gateway" to on-line sources such as Wikipedia, is like an encyclopedia with all the disturbing facts cut out.
The free public library today is one of the few institutions that has no axe to grind, no dog in the fight, that is dedicated to getting you, the user, the most wide ranging and accurate information possible, so that you can make your own decisions about the issues that affect you.
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.Write a new post...What do you want to share?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something