The biggest issue with equating the library with a Netflix for books is that it sends a false message that libraries are worth little more than $8 or $12 or $20 a month. That the services offered in libraries are little more than options to which people can subscribe, rather than actual services anyone can utilize at any time.
When the library is made to be seen as a business, rather than the heart of a community or a fundamental service made possible through citizen-approved tax dollars, it makes the library expendable. That expendability then moves down the chain: staff salaries get cut, then staff withers, then more programs and projects that benefit the community — books and movies and CDs and magazines and newspapers and wifi and computer access and database subscriptions and programs for all shapes, colors, and sizes of people — disappear, too. It detracts from the unique aspects that make a library what it is: a place for all, rather than a place for some.
Libraries reach out where Netflix reaches in.
from Libraries Are Not a “Netflix” for Books. (via catagator)
I’m speaking as someone who would prob do the amazon subscription service, or a similar one,if i had a little more money, bc i read primarily e-books and i make EXTENSIVE use of amazon’s cloud reader, which is unfortunately only useful if you read books you’ve bought from amazon: they serve different populations. amazon’s service is for people who have 100+ bucks to drop on netflix for books, it’s people who use computers regularly, it’s people who can buy books, people who have kindles, etc etc. that tech is NOT available and accessible to everyone. libraries exist in part for people who don’t have computers at home, people with lower tech literacy, older people, people who rely on the casual social interaction that community spaces provide. it’s easy to see amazon’s subscription service as ~replacing libraries if you’re privileged enough to not NEED the actual services libraries offer - from tech literacy to the kind of cultural context needed to guide research for school or w/e - but if you can’t get those services elsewhere, then a library is the place to go for them. libraries, in many ways, bridge the massive gap between people who grow up with tech/computers/etc, people who have SAT prep courses and nice enough schools to teach them how to do research in a modern world, and people who don’t grow up with any of that. if you don’t find libraries particularly useful, fine, they’re not for you. but it takes a very specific kind of privileged blindness to then conclude that they don’t have value for anyone, ever.