Originally Posted by Rich_D
Let's face it, e-readers are luxury items and currently libraries are most important to the poorer communities. In some cases the only place kids can use a computer or read a book, other than at school, is the library. If the library has to choose between an e-book and a p-book, they need to go with the p-book because that will be the greater benefit to the most people and that is more in line with Carnegie's vision.
Yes, I agree with your assessment here -- the library's role as a community centre. I disagree (without a shred of proof on my part
) that the cost of expanding the e-book collection, shared with other regional libraries, and properly curated and promoted, would not be a net benefit to the library's local role.
I was really pleased to see that the Free Library of Philadelphia included, on its home page, info about PA genealogy. That's the sort of focussed, local relevance I'd expect from "curating" info that could be applied to e-books.
Our Toronto Public Library system has some amazing sub collections -- the most extensive Conan Doyle collection in the world, the Judith Merrill SciFi collection, the Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books and tons of material directly related to the history of Toronto, Ontario and Canada. Why not a focus on Canadian writers, current and extinct, where e-books exist? There are endless possibilities and they all enhance what the library system can deliver and increase its reputation.
e-books seem such an obvious enhancement to me even within existing budgets.