Sunday, February 8, 2009

The library sucks

I have blogged in the past (here and here) about how the media selection at the Howard County Public Library is a royal joke. I like to read, and much of the stuff that I am interested in reading is not at the library. Within the course of the past 7 days, there are three books that I heard someone talking about or saw online that looked really interesting. None of them are at the library.
Tommy Angelo; The Elements of Poker

2. Wendy Chapkis and Richard Webb; Dying to Get High
3. Peter Leeson; Invisible hook

I will probably end up purchasing these books on Amazon, which is fine. But it is irritating to know that some of my money is stolen from me to purchase 100 copies of Harry Potter for the HCPL.

At the root of the library system is the belief that there is nothing wrong with stealing someone’s money and spending it for them on books. I don’t know what share of my tax dollars goes to support the library, maybe $100 or something per year. As far as I am concerned, I may as well of shoved that $100 up a pigeon’s ass and let it fly away. It is shocking to hear, but the HoCo gummint has budgeted over $100 million to build and operate libraries over the next 5 years.

Ken Ulman used to tell a well rehearsed story during the campaign about how his daughter had a party and asked all her friends to bring a book so that the books could be donated to some worthy literacy cause. Rather than stealing from people to purchase books as a publicly funded library does, Ms. Ulman was able to harness the power of private charity to promote literacy. I think that is a great idea, and she would probably make a better leader than any elected official out there.

Come to the anti-government side, young children. We have cookies!


Kem White said...

Leeson's book on pirates is not scheduled to be published until 5 May 2009, which, in this case, explains why you did find it at the library.

Freemarket said...

Oh, you're absolutely right. I'll be curious to see if they order a copy. I remember with Richard Dawkins 'God Delusion', the library had it in their database as "on order". You could reserve a copy, even though the copies had not arrived at the library yet.

Anonymous said...

The Howard County Library seems to be alone in that they have "Grandiose" plans to grow in this economy. Mrs. Gross definitely doesn't understand the word "no" when it comes to budgeting and it will be interesting to see who She lectures on "Civility" when She cannot build all of those new Library's!

Anonymous said...

Where are you? Feb 8 is the last post?

Anonymous said...

He must be out getting more Kool-Aid.

Freemarket said...

I have not been inspired to write about anything since I wrote about the royal suckage of the library. Oh, and I had to go out and get more Kool-Aid. Lots of politicians are handing it out for free!

Minks said...

"stealing from people to purchase books as a publicly funded library does"?

See, it is people like you that wander around spouting 'facts' that are lies that are why this country is in the mess it is.

First off, I know about your county, it is one of the wealthiest in the nation. As such, there are going to be a lot of people (i.e. you) that do not understand what a library is all about. It is for those that cannot afford to go to amazon to buy books should the library not have them available. It is not primarily for ignorant wealthy people (if you can shop amazon, congrats, you qualify as you have credit cards and disposable income to spend on discretionary reading materials). It is in the best interest of the country to have smart people, or at least as smart as reasonably possible. A library helps to achieve this. Oh and to prove your ignorance, it took me about 5 minutes to research and find out what you pay per year for your library. It is no where near the $100 you state. Based on 2009 figures It is $28.43 a year, not a month,,, per year! Yep, $28.43 yearly (bases on taxes YOU pay and not fines, fees, etc. based on income tax and property tax). Under $3 a month. The price you pay for a meal out. So you are saying $28 a year is too steep a price to pay to increase the overall IQ of the nation? Seriously?

So yes, I think is it right to 'steal' your money to improve the country. You are too lazy and ignorant to use it wisely anyway.

Freemarket said...

Wow, Minks. It must be nice to have the world figured out. You assert that yourself and people of your ilk are so much smarter than me, that you should be able to spend my money for me. I am guess I am just too wealthy and ignorant.

I freely admitted that my $100 figure was an estimate, but I have not verified your numbers. No need to get your panties in a bunch over it, jeez.

Just curious, if libraries are so cheap, why can't they be provided with user fees? People who can't afford them could perhaps apply for discount memberships to the library, which could be subsidized with fees from those who can afford to pay higher membership fee. Why do you need to steal the money in the form of taxes?

The reason why is that few people use the library. And those that do are probably among those you would consider wealthy, since they have the leisure time to read.

Minks said...

Time on your hands to read does not necessarily indicate wealth. What I was trying to point out was that buying books on indicates wealth. 60%+ of the people that use my library do so because they are low income. Granted I am the I.T. librarian here, and work mainly with Internet users, but from what I see, most people cannot afford to purchase their own computers. I will admit, most use the computer to just goof off, but a significant portion use them to find jobs... which is good for the collective. Money well invested by society. By YOU.

Why can't libraries be funded by public monies? I can answer that! Here goes... Some public libraries in my area ARE in fact mainly funded by private grants and monies! Wow! You should dig that! Anywho, yes, and those libraries are very nice. But, guess WHERE these libraries are? Go ahead, take a stab at it.

Hint: It costs a lot of money to run a library

They are all in the very affluent cities around this area! Yep, affluent cities... which is NOT what libraries are ideally suited for. These people actually CAN goto amazon and buy whatever they want. I have been to these libraries and I have noticed a few characteristics they all have in common....

1) They are not very busy and luxuriously appointed.

2) They are filled with white Soccer Moms out for a daily activity (not that there is anything wrong with this, just setting the scene)

3) The computers are virtually unused

4) The stacks have very little on job seeking information (although oddly, lots of self improvement materials, weird)

5) Everybody there is wealthy.

6) Nobody is job hunting

So, I bet you are thinking "Yay" to yourself right now. I suspect I have painted a picture you like. But here is the problem with this scene...

The library is not benefiting society near as much as public funded libraries! The people at wealthy-privately funded library all have computers at home. The people can all afford books, they are there for the social aspect,, or I suspect the "I am bored I need something to do" aspect. Oh! I just had an epiphany! You know what these libraries are like?! COUNTRY CLUBS! Thats it! I knew I had experienced that vibe before.

Around here, there are NO private *grant funded libraries in NORMAL neighborhoods,, or *GASP* POOR neighborhoods. ZERO! Zippo. Nsda. The reason? Now this is just guessing, but I think it is because these neighborhoods don't have lots of rich people wanting a library country club.

Maybe you should tell me. Why do you think there are privately funded public libraries in rich neighborhoods and none in regular to poor neighborhoods?

*Bill and Melinda Gates have sent 100's of computers to this area, and many are in regular libraries (none in mine tho). ... if there were about 100 other Bill and Melindas out there, perhaps your vision of privately funded libraries would work. But, there aren't. Sadly, not even close.

Freemarket said...

Minks- to the extent that libraries are funded privately, that is awesome and I have no quarrel with privately funded libraries. In fact, they bolster my case against publicly funded libraries.

I don’t think that it is true at all to say that libraries funded by private grants are only located in wealthy communities. Private charity does not often flow from the rich to the rich, it flows from the haves to the have-nots. I challenge you to name a single library that is fully funded with private grants that is in a “wealthy” community. But if there is one, so what? No one is stealing your money to build it.

Btw, your description of the privately funded library (rich white people hanging around unused computers, etc.) nicely describes the Glenwood Library in Howard County which is publicly funded.