Monday, February 18, 2013

Are Libraries Passe?

There's a major flap going on in the UK over whether or not libraries still serve a purpose.  Children's author Terry Deary commented in an article in the Guardian that book stores are being forced to close "because someone is giving away the product they are tyring to sell."
On Friday, another top selling and top borrowed children's author, Julia Donaldson, commented in a rebuttal article that Deary's logic was severely flawed because libraries don't harm the book trade, they create readers. 
The article also goes on to say that since he made his comments Deary has been flooded with hate mail and some of his most vociferous critics have been other authors.  What a shock .. most authors love libraries because they know we love their books, promote their books, and turn people on to their books.  People who just might go out and buy one or two.  I'm sorry Deary thinks we're robbing him of his justly due royalties, but if he thinks parents can afford to buy every kids' book their kids want to read he's dreaming. AND if he really believes that compulsory education exposes kids to literature and books the same way that a library can, I bet he's sending his kids to a private (or is that public) school.
The good news is all the wonderful authors who've spoken up in defense of libraries and who champion the cause.  But it's time libraries championed their own cause a little more.  We shouldn't even need to have this debate.  And if we are having it, it's because we're not letting the public know just how relevant libraries are.

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