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Old 02-27-2013, 12:11 AM   #121
meeera
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Anyone who WANTS to read can find books to read.
Without libraries, this is just not true. There are a ton of preschoolers out there with minimal access to books at home. Preschoolers need multiple picture books read to them each day. In an income below the poverty line, even used books are just not affordable at the rate of reading that needs to take place for literacy development.

Then, schoolchildren. With no school libraries, what are they supposed to read? Photocopied comprehension sheets and nothing else? My kid's school actively does the Lexile programme (along with lots of other reading), and he's been borrowing three Lexile books a week from the school library. Where are these supposed to come from if not from there?

And then, adults. Serious readers read up to 20-30 books per month. Secondhand books are around $2-8 dollars here (more for newer used books). How on earth could someone without money for anything other than rent, bills and food afford that? Even casual but consistent readers on a low income, at 2-4 books a month, would be looking at doing some serious cuts to the food budget. And I'd expect secondhand book prices to rise, and availability to contract, if libraries didn't exist.

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The problem is that not very many people want to read. And a bigger problem is that our schools seem to have become incapable of teaching people to read.
Our mileages vary a lot here. I'm wondering how exactly you expect schools to teach reading and adults to want to read if there weren't public lending libraries.
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:16 AM   #122
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Huh? I'm talking about physical books, here. (I just checked - my state library system has no Deary ebooks, and my kid's school library doesn't do ebooks at all.)

He's been compensated for library books already, and I'm under absolutely no "obligation" to compensate him further just because we borrow his books. What on earth are you suggesting? Mandatory Paypal tipjarring every time someone takes a book out of the library? Every time we borrow a book from a friend? Every time we buy a book from a used book store? How about when I read the book out loud to my kid - do we have to pay double because we both enjoyed the story?
What I'm suggesting is that libraries, as we have known them, are obsolete. To the extent they do survive, it will be through political & bureaucratic inertia, or because they repurpose themselves away from physical books. And if I'm right about that, this means that there will be different economic arrangements for authors and libraries in the future.
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:36 AM   #123
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What I'm suggesting is that libraries, as we have known them, are obsolete.
I've realised that you've said that, I've just seen no convincing evidence. Libraries, around here at least, remain very busy indeed. Their functions are a lot more than their core functions of lending books and audiobooks. They remain a community hub for meetings, book clubs, writers groups, adult learning, children's vacation activities and storytime, meet-the-author events, genealogy research, game days for seniors, computer training, internet access, homework help, they lend CDs and DVDs. For some community members they're part of their only social contact with other humans (those who use Books on Wheels). Hell, they're even included by our government as an official part of their heatwave emergency response plan, in the absence of community cooling centres, for those who can't afford air conditioning or have lost power. Libraries do all sorts of things, and I can't see any of these things suddenly going away.

They're also slowly adding newer functions like lending ebooks and digital audiobooks, but that's nowhere near taking over from paper books yet. When/if it does, great, whatever, so long as they continue to lend ereaders to people who can't afford them, offer paper books to those for whom that's more appropriate (eg children's board books), and so on. That's what a public library is: a way for we the people to buy books that we can all access, regardless of income. If anything, income inequality is rising, not falling, so I just can't see the obsolescence here.
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:43 AM   #124
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Yeah, but you are obliged to compensate him. And his view of whether that compensation is adequate has to be taken into account. A system devise by Benjamin Franklin might not be the right model for compensation today. Lending libraries worked when books were physical objects. I'm not so sure they are good models for today.
Are you sure you meant that first part? I have no contractual obligations to compensate Mr. Deary. I have no legal duties to compensate Mr. Deary. The libraries in England apparently have some legal duties to compensate him and they are doing so. Whether or not he is happy with the legal requirements is utterly irrelevant to me. Especially since I don't live in England and can no longer frequent libraries.

I seem to recall that the movie studios initially hated the movie rental stores. However, they must have come to see them as being valuable sources of income. They started putting out ads for DVD releases urging people to buy or rent.
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:58 AM   #125
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Originally Posted by meeera View Post
Without libraries, this is just not true. There are a ton of preschoolers out there with minimal access to books at home. Preschoolers need multiple picture books read to them each day. In an income below the poverty line, even used books are just not affordable at the rate of reading that needs to take place for literacy development.

Then, schoolchildren. With no school libraries, what are they supposed to read? Photocopied comprehension sheets and nothing else? My kid's school actively does the Lexile programme (along with lots of other reading), and he's been borrowing three Lexile books a week from the school library. Where are these supposed to come from if not from there?

And then, adults. Serious readers read up to 20-30 books per month. Secondhand books are around $2-8 dollars here (more for newer used books). How on earth could someone without money for anything other than rent, bills and food afford that? Even casual but consistent readers on a low income, at 2-4 books a month, would be looking at doing some serious cuts to the food budget. And I'd expect secondhand book prices to rise, and availability to contract, if libraries didn't exist.

Our mileages vary a lot here. I'm wondering how exactly you expect schools to teach reading and adults to want to read if there weren't public lending libraries.
Several issues here.

Do you think that the parents of these pre-schoolers are using the library? I doubt it.

Lack of school libraries? Why is that? We spend tons of money on schools - but there's no money for libraries?

Lexile program? I'd never heard of it - checked Wikipedia and it sounds like a nightmare. No wonder people homeschool.

Serious readers who read 30 books a month? Let them fund it themselves. Anyone with that kind of habit should be willing to get a second job to support it. Why should we provide such people with libraries?

Used bookstores? I have two within a block of me. One will die when its owner, who is around 70, dies. The other, likewise, but with a younger owner, unless he can adopt someone to run the "family farm". So I think you have that one right.

How do I expect schools to teach reading? Phonics. How come that stopped working? Worked fine when I was a kid. Maria Montessori could teach retarded children to read - so what's the problem?

http://www.montessoriworld.org/Readi.../overview.html

Libraries are obsolete. I can tell you when that dawned on me - way back in the 90s. In 1991, the Chicago Public Library system built a huge, dysfunctional central library downtown. It was a Monument. I looked at it, and realized that the last stage of any human enterprise begins when it starts building monuments to itself. And it's been downhill for the Chicago library system since then. Funding cuts, layoffs, etc. Of course it will take years to finally die, for the usual featherbedding reasons, and because some good people are struggling to keep it going. The Detroit library, larger than Chicago's, is still around in a town that is disappearing out from under it. Twenty or thirty years from now, our children will look back at the public library in the same way we look at movie palaces of the 1920s. Beautiful, but largely irrelevant.
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:06 AM   #126
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Are you sure you meant that first part? I have no contractual obligations to compensate Mr. Deary. I have no legal duties to compensate Mr. Deary. The libraries in England apparently have some legal duties to compensate him and they are doing so. Whether or not he is happy with the legal requirements is utterly irrelevant to me. Especially since I don't live in England and can no longer frequent libraries.

I seem to recall that the movie studios initially hated the movie rental stores. However, they must have come to see them as being valuable sources of income. They started putting out ads for DVD releases urging people to buy or rent.
The obligation is not contractual, but that is only because someone else has undertaken it. There is a chain of obligation, even if one is at the freeloading end of it. Of course, with respect to this particular author, you don't stand in that position.

Your point about movies is interesting, but assuming that the author is the studio, libraries have to figure out how to be Netflix rather than Blockbuster. Or Amazon rather than Borders. Right now, maybe they are B&N.
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:16 AM   #127
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I've realised that you've said that, I've just seen no convincing evidence. Libraries, around here at least, remain very busy indeed. Their functions are a lot more than their core functions of lending books and audiobooks. They remain a community hub for meetings, book clubs, writers groups, adult learning, children's vacation activities and storytime, meet-the-author events, genealogy research, game days for seniors, computer training, internet access, homework help, they lend CDs and DVDs. For some community members they're part of their only social contact with other humans (those who use Books on Wheels). Hell, they're even included by our government as an official part of their heatwave emergency response plan, in the absence of community cooling centres, for those who can't afford air conditioning or have lost power. Libraries do all sorts of things, and I can't see any of these things suddenly going away.

They're also slowly adding newer functions like lending ebooks and digital audiobooks, but that's nowhere near taking over from paper books yet. When/if it does, great, whatever, so long as they continue to lend ereaders to people who can't afford them, offer paper books to those for whom that's more appropriate (eg children's board books), and so on. That's what a public library is: a way for we the people to buy books that we can all access, regardless of income. If anything, income inequality is rising, not falling, so I just can't see the obsolescence here.
Quite so. What you are saying is that libraries are finding new purposes. I don't think the book part will survive.

People who are contemporaries live in different technological eras. I have friends who do not use computers. I have one son who rejects ebooks - but voraciously reads pbooks. So I expect public libraries to linger for a while, servicing such people. But unless the new functions you delineate become new core functions, their days are numbered. The historical core function of being a repository for books to be lent the public is doomed.
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:45 AM   #128
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I don't think that it's a matter of parent's not caring Harmon. More like it's a matter of not having the time because it takes two incomes coming in to keep food on the table and a roof over the families head. Government is supposed to be 'of the people, by the people and for the people' but it seems more and more like it's 'of the rich, by the rich and for the rich' instead. That mentality filters down in many different ways. I think that's why so many go for a TV rather than books too. It's a one time expense to buy the actual TV set and you get 100's of hrs of entertainment in return (or at least you used to) and books only have the one thing in them and pbooks don't come in a big package of several 100 for one low price. That's one way ebooks are better. You can find free or low priced ebooks all around. Anyway there is also stress in not knowing if you will have a roof over your head next month or not, or a filling dinner as well, which can inhibit being able to sit down long enough to read even if you have access to books. And what about all those private libraries that rich men used to put together and then not even cut the pages of a single book in order to read it? They had the $$ and presumably the time to read, but didn't. Meanwhile poor men (and women) did read and they went on to invent the tools that led to our modern world today.
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Old 02-27-2013, 09:54 AM   #129
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I'm not sure how lack of money meant the students were not learning to read. My point earlier was that some students do not have access to books at home, only through school libraries and regular libraries, even though I did not say it. I never said they weren't learning to read.

I even said that only having cereal boxes and dictionaries to read would turn them off of reading, not foster a love of it.

I'm not even going to address the changes in teaching reading, because that is too big of a subject. It changes in waves as research shows that this or that works better. For better or worse, schools keep trying their hardest to teach students to read, even if the students don't care if they do or not.
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:20 PM   #130
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Preschoolers need multiple picture books read to them each day.
"Need" is really not true, you know. The overwhelming majority of young children in the world get by just fine without having multiple picture books read to them every day.
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Old 02-27-2013, 09:52 PM   #131
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"Need" is really not true, you know. The overwhelming majority of young children in the world get by just fine without having multiple picture books read to them every day.
True. Maybe that's why there are so many of us misanthropes raging against a vicious and viscous world.
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Old 02-28-2013, 04:58 AM   #132
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"Need" is really not true, you know. The overwhelming majority of young children in the world get by just fine without having multiple picture books read to them every day.
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According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty.
I guess they get by just fine without books, or food, or medication.

Last edited by Rizla; 02-28-2013 at 05:02 AM.
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Old 02-28-2013, 06:01 AM   #133
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Well it's wasn't insufficiency of reading material that let them die. Point for Harry then.
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:58 AM   #134
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"Need" is really not true, you know. The overwhelming majority of young children in the world get by just fine without having multiple picture books read to them every day.
Okay, let's put it this way: In order for children to realize their maximum intellectual potential, they need to be read multiple books every day in their preschool years.

Read "The Read Aloud Handbook" by Jim Trelease and open your eyes.

Libraries are a vital source for the next generation. I checked out over $10,000 worth of books last year at my library. It would take a very wealthy individual to be able to buy that many books, and to not feel the need to restrict their children's purchases due to budget concerns. Libraries are the one place I can happily tell my children, "You can have anything here you want."
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:39 AM   #135
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I'm not sure how lack of money meant the students were not learning to read. My point earlier was that some students do not have access to books at home, only through school libraries and regular libraries, even though I did not say it. I never said they weren't learning to read.
Well, you can't expect people to deal with points you don't actually make.

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I even said that only having cereal boxes and dictionaries to read would turn them off of reading, not foster a love of it.
Baloney. If you are a teacher, you should be able to make reading cereal boxes and dictionaries FUN. Heck, I'm no teacher, and I can think of a dozen ways to engage children with reading cereal boxes and dictionaries. Throw in the Bible (whoops, that would be "religion" - can't do that! I obviously mean "throw out the Bible") and you have more than enough material to show kids how to read. Let the kids tell their own stories, and kids who can already read write them down. The world is FULL of words to read. Books contain some of them.

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I'm not even going to address the changes in teaching reading, because that is too big of a subject. It changes in waves as research shows that this or that works better. For better or worse, schools keep trying their hardest to teach students to read, even if the students don't care if they do or not.
It is not big at all. Phonics work for most kids. Schools and teachers who can't teach kids to read are failures. I'm not saying it's not a harder job than it used to be, and that there aren't problems to be overcome.

But then, schools don't exist to educate kids. That's secondary to providing jobs for administrators and teachers, handing out contracts to suppliers, and establishing political fiefdoms.

There are some signs of hope, though. My niece is a teacher in a school system out west, where every teacher in her school had to reapply for their job. Guess what - only 25% (including my niece) were rehired.

And when she wanted books for her students, she reached out to friends & family and we bought her the books. She didn't just sit around passively blaming the lack of libraries for her problems. Which is probably why the school had the sense to rehire her.
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