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Are Maker Spaces the Future of Public Libraries? 158

Posted by Soulskill
from the yes-please dept.
misterbarnacles writes "Shareable has an interview with librarian Lauren Britton Smedley from the Fayetteville Free Library, which is adding a Fab Lab to its community offerings. She said, 'I think that libraries are really centers for knowledge exchange, and a Fab Lab fits perfectly into something like that. This idea that libraries are a place where the books live, and you go to find a book, and that’s all it is, I think is really starting to shift. Libraries are a place for social transformation. They’re a place that you can go to get computer access, or access to technology that you can’t get anywhere else, and access to people. ... At the Fab Lab, the impetus behind the whole thing was to create a center for knowledge exchange where we’re not just offering Intro to Word or Intro to Excel — that we can offer Intro to Computer Programming, or Digital Fabrication — these skills that are really important in the STEM fields, and we can push that information out for free. And how do we do that? By getting people in the community who know that stuff to come in and share what they know.'"
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Are Maker Spaces the Future of Public Libraries?

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  • Than it's back to books only.

    • by trout007 (975317) on Monday November 21, 2011 @04:09PM (#38127992)

      Maybe you need to read some books. It is then not than. Get a clue.

  • Money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by masternerdguy (2468142) on Monday November 21, 2011 @04:09PM (#38128000)
    Not with the budget cuts.
  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Monday November 21, 2011 @04:10PM (#38128008)

    Libraries at their core are places where knowledge and learning could be shared. Why does that have to be limited to distribution via dead trees? I for one think this is a brilliant idea.

    • by uniquename72 (1169497) on Monday November 21, 2011 @04:26PM (#38128176)

      This idea that libraries are a place where the books live, and you go to find a book, and that’s all it is, I think is really starting to shift.

      "Starting" to shift? Libraries haven't been about books in at least 10 years (since I became a librarian). In fact, the "it's not about books" thing was a long-tired cliche even then.

      • by camperdave (969942) on Monday November 21, 2011 @04:36PM (#38128306) Journal
        I'll say it's not about the books. My local library has 54 SF books, and not an Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, or Bova in the bunch.
        • My local has a full section of vampire romance, so I guess it's staying current with the times. Which I guess is the challenge for libraries these days, staying current with the times. Their reference sections are pretty much obsolete thanks to the internet. If digital books ever really become lendable, then things will really change.

          Back to the subject at hand, I don't know that a maker space is a great fit for a library. It appeals to (I think) a very small segment of the population. It depends a bit

          • If digital books ever become lendable, publishers and distributors will sue to make them unlendable again.
            • Why would you lend a digital book? Just give them a copy.
              • by tehcyder (746570)

                Why would you lend a digital book? Just give them a copy.

                Yeah, in fact who needs a fucking library when you've got the Pirate Bay?

            • by tehcyder (746570)

              If digital books ever become lendable, publishers and distributors will sue to make them unlendable again.

              Digital books are already endable from my local library.

      • by ThorGod (456163)

        "Starting" to shift? Libraries haven't been about books in at least 10 years (since I became a librarian). In fact, the "it's not about books" thing was a long-tired cliche even then.

        Say that to my overdue book fees :) (whoops!)

      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        by hedwards (940851)

        Better move to a more literate part of the country. Around here our libraries have huge numbers of books. They do offer other services as well, like computers, DVDs and seminars, but the vast majority of the space is dedicated to books.

      • by vlm (69642) on Monday November 21, 2011 @05:30PM (#38129032)

        "Starting" to shift? Libraries haven't been about books in at least 10 years (since I became a librarian). In fact, the "it's not about books" thing was a long-tired cliche even then.

        I think its a physical remodel thing, it takes awhile to remodel, so that what they wanna do reflects the building layout. The recently completed remodel of our local public library just dropped below 50% of floor space devoted to books. When I was a kid it was between 50 and 75 percent. About 10% kids play and meeting and reading area next to the childrens library desk (beanbags, etc), also a separate glass walled "teen area" with teen books and scheduled book readings and book discussion groups. Study areas have imploded down to less than 10%, too many homeless were living in the study desks, I donno where they go now. Computers and computer area has exploded to at least 10%, must be two dozen virus, worm, and keylogger-laden windows PCs there slowly chugging away, I wouldn't touch those machines with a ten foot pole, or at least without an elaborate forensics kit. About 10% current and recent magazines and newspapers, note they subscribe to about 25 national and world daily newspapers. About 10% non-traditional library media, we're a depository library for genealogical microfilm and have rows of readers and printers to use it, well over a hundred years of local newspaper on microfiche, etc. About 10% DVDs, audiobooks, music CDs, and ancient 1980s 1990s computer cds/dvds (shareware, multimedia shovelware, etc). About 10% meeting spaces ranging from small office like collaboration areas to a 100 or so person meeting hall. That leaves about 30% remaining for old fashioned physical paper books. Still the largest area by far, but a far cry from the old library.

        • by SomePgmr (2021234)
          I'm sure some googling could reveal this, but I figure you'd be able to answer this simply... is microfiche still around? You mentioned it here but I had figured all that material had long been scanned into digital storage and made searchable.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 21, 2011 @04:29PM (#38128218)

      My local library is struggling for funds. Buying dead trees with ideas printed on them is out of the question - the budget is so restricted that library hours are being cut back constantly. I love my library and I support it every that I can - aside from volunteering because my state Georgia is run by ignorant, moronic, stupid, asinine, fucked up,

      You see, if I want to volunteer at my county library [cobbcat.org] I have to state that I have never wanted to over-throw the US government because my idiotic, moronic, dipshit, redneck, ignorant, asshole, stupid, legislature says that I need to fill out this form (Sedition and Subversive Activities Questionnaire) [cobbcat.org]!

      I'd like to say, that we in the State of Georgia in the US of A (not to be confused with Georgia the country - for my ignorant fellow Americans) are stupid, ignorant, Bible thumping morons!

      See, I can't fill it out and say "No" because I want to control the World and my first action as Emperor of the World is to condemn every Goddamn Georgia (US) legislator who voted for that bill to hard labor - actually any labor considering that they're all pampered assholes - and education outside of their moronic World view.

      Goddamn it! I Really Hate the South sometimes!!

      • by vlm (69642)

        the overthrow of the government of the United States or of the government of the state of Georgia by force or violence?

        Ah you are misquoting the "force or violence" makes it a bit simpler.

        So, I can volunteer at your library as long as I've only worked to overthrow my own (non-GA) state and city... great, I think?

        Have you ever been convicted or are any charges now pending against you, by Federal, State or other law enforcing authority, for any violation of any federal law, state law, county or municipal law, regulation, or ordinance? If the answer to (a) is “Yes”, state the reason convicted, the date convicted, and the place where convicted

        Can't google answer that for me? I literally don't know. This is easier if you've only been an adult for a couple years, but I got a speeding ticket sometime in the 90s and I donno where the courthouse was in the 90s for that sleeply little 'burb, probably haven't even thought about it in over a decade. I've got a

      • I was not as surprised by the first questions as I was that they wanted to know about traffic violations with a find greater than $35. How long has it been since any traffic violation cost less than $35?
      • by reboot246 (623534)
        At first glance I thought your subject was "I love your penis".

        I'm glad you're from Georgia. We rednecks in Alabama need folks like you to make us look better.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Myself (57572)

      It's a valuable resource to a community, but so are parks and swimming pools. The library doesn't have those things attached to it, either, for obvious reasons of indoor air quality and such.

      For years, I've described i3 Detroit [i3detroit.com] specifically, and hackerspaces/makerspaces in general, as being "something like a library, but for beings with opposable thumbs in addition to eyes". Learning and making and tinkering is in our nature, and I think it enhances us as humans to exercise these abilities. The word "litera

    • by linatux (63153)

      Most books you only want to read once. Borrowing from a library is ideal.
      Specialist technical books, rare books, etc are too expensive for most people to buy. A library means you have the opportunity to enjoy & learn from them.

      Most people probably can't justify owning a fabricator, but might love the chance to 'borrow' one. Of course, if it works well for the library, the local copy-shop will probably run a higher-spec model & do it cheaper.

      • by vlm (69642)

        Specialist technical books, rare books, etc are too expensive for most people to buy. A library means you have the opportunity to enjoy & learn from them.

        Not where I live. Nothing beyond high school level WRT to tech books. Hundreds of new paperback vampire chick and zombie escape paperbacks, but all they've got for automotive repair, for example, is the '73 Dodge Dart Chilton manual. That's about it. You don't wanna know what I found in the computer section, its unspeakable. Lets just say I could relive my childhood pretty well, and I'm not young (as you can see by my /. UID).

        Oddly enough they've got plenty of dough, being a rich suburb. Stacks of new

    • by eh2o (471262)

      There are already "tool lending libraries" in many cities (well at least they are in several cities near where I live), they are managed by the library system and allow residents to check out all sorts of things including drills, nailguns, post-hole diggers, etc. There are a great many tools that a person might benefit from using but would be wasteful to outright buy.

      A 3D printer, shopbot or CNC milling machine would be the equivalent of a reference section in the tool library--big tools you can use on site

    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      I think it's a terrible idea, because who's going to pay for it? Basically, you're talking about setting up a prototyping facility or machine shop. These facilities aren't cheap: the equipment is expensive, plus it needs to be maintained and cared for or else it becomes junk. There's a reason it's expensive to get anything done at a machine shop; it costs that much to keep the place in order. Let morons from the general public wander in there and start playing with things and the equipment will get brok

      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        Sorry, I forgot to mention with the small-business idea: with a private business, you'd be able to force customers to sit through training, and even test them to make sure they're competent before allowing them at the machines. And if you don't think they're safe to be there, or they're just a disturbance or annoyance in general, then you can force them to leave, since businesses are allowed to refuse to do business with anyone they choose (as long as it's not discriminatory based on sex/race/etc.). These

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday November 21, 2011 @04:14PM (#38128054) Homepage

    I'm sure this is a useful program put together by well-meaning people. I'm reasonably certain that it's a net benefit for the patrons of the Fayetteville Free Library. But none of that remotely leads to the conclusion that "maker spaces" or "fab labs" are the future of public libraries. It just leads to the conclusion that it may be a program that's worth trying.

    My general rule, whenever a 'news' story has a question in the title, is that the answer to the question is almost always "No". For instance, "Steve Jobs revered as the Second Coming?" or "Can we improve web performance by using a product from some obscure tech company?".

    • by Baloroth (2370816)

      What else would you expect from the director of a "Transliteracy" department?

      The interviewer in TFA asks what "Transliteracy" (yes browser I know that isn't a word) means, and the director's response was basically "critical thinking... but for computers!" We do not need another meaningless buzzword. Really, "critical thinking" sums up exactly what that word means, and it does so concisely, clearly, and in a way anyone who is literate can understand. Unlike "transliteracy." Although inventing a new word is

  • Neat. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 21, 2011 @04:16PM (#38128094)

    I want a metal brake, CNC mill, CNC lathe, cutting laser, water jet cutter, and TIG welding outfit at my library.

    • by Jeng (926980)

      Perhaps try your local community college?

      Some of that might even be available at your local high school.

      • by vlm (69642)

        Perhaps try your local community college?

        I've never understood this about the "makerspace" movement. So, basically, you want to create an unaccredited community college night school, but you think you can do it for everyone for free or at least cheaper than my local CC? My local CC has open lab "classes" for welding, machining, and I believe electronics and they are NOT free nor have they ever been free, that just doesn't work economically. All divisions have always had "independent study" class for any subject they don't outright have "open la

        • by gmhowell (26755)

          So, other than a trendy marketing campaign and endless free publicity, what exactly do makerspaces have going for them that I can't get at the CC?

          Hipster douchebags. Tons and tons of hipster douchebags.

          Hell, I burned more than $200 worth of consumables in each of the welding classes I took at my CC (probably why it cost more than $200).

    • Second this. Oddly, a lot of these maker spaces seem to avoid the kinds of tools one would find in a conventional wood or metal-shop.

      But to the larger question - libraries are going to need more active support and protection to survive much into this new century. Baltimore's public libraries have been consolidating for years.

    • by vlm (69642)

      I want a metal brake, CNC mill, CNC lathe, cutting laser, water jet cutter, and TIG welding outfit at my library.

      My community college vocational ed building is next door to it's library... and its got all that goodness, just sign up to audit a class. Plus you get a free instructor. Literally, I'm not kidding, $174 for 4 months access to the welding lab two nights a week open lab hours, do whatever you want at your own pace in the open lab, although if you do their curriculum at their recommended rate and the instructor approves your work, you can earn a cert every quarter eventually leading to an associates degree

      • by trout007 (975317)

        Luckily I work in a shop as an engineer and the techs let me play on the machines with supervision. TIG welding stainless steel is pretty easy since heat moves so slowly. I'd start with it. Aluminum is a WHOLE different animal. It sucks heat away so fast you can't pussyfoot around. Pedal to the metal and go for it otherwise it won't work. And you also need everything very clean since there isn't any flux to suck the crap out of the weld.

    • by mangu (126918)

      Just the TIG (or MIG) would do for me. I hate having to bolt or rivet aluminum just because I don't have the proper welding equipment.

  • Damn, 19 miles from me; I might have to check it out.
  • by MarkvW (1037596) on Monday November 21, 2011 @04:26PM (#38128178)

    As material printers and CNC devices become ubiquitous, people will want to be able to access designs and plans of things that they can make. Libraries are an ideal source of these designs and plans.

    This is something the average end-user can understand.

    • by Obfuscant (592200)

      As material printers and CNC devices become ubiquitous, people will want to be able to access designs and plans of things that they can make. Libraries are an ideal source of these designs and plans.

      The Internet is an ideal source for those plans and designs. Nothing says that a library is the only access to the Internet.

      There is no reason that a library has to be all things to all people. It has a function: a repository of knowledge in many different forms for societal history. That's not the same as "a place to play with high-tech toys" or "to build stuff".

      Please libraries, keep doing your intended function well and stay out of the "societal change" business. That's not your job.

    • by Jeng (926980)

      I would imagine that that technology would fit in better at ones local community college or tech school.

      The community college or tech school could have a side business that allows supervised access to the technology for a price.

      • by vlm (69642)

        The community college or tech school could have a side business that allows supervised access to the technology for a price.

        They almost certainly already do.

        Where I live, several programs are operated as open lab, do 15 "quests" assigned by the instructor at your own pace whenever the lab is open, earn a cert, repeat until you have a degree (in welding, and the non-book half of the automotive degree).

        Anyone can audit any class as long as they convince the instructor and there's no waiting list (probably OK for at least 90% of classes).

        All divisions have independent study class, if you wanna do your own AS/400 thing and they've g

        • by mangu (126918)

          Sometimes you just want to use a tool for a simple task, it's not about getting a degree. I'll give you one example: I recently built a computer desk with an aluminum frame. Not having aluminum welding equipment, I had to assemble it with bolts and rivets. Besides being unsightly, those joints aren't as strong as welded joints would be. If I had a MIG or TIG welding rig for a couple of hours I could have a much better desk.

          • by tehcyder (746570)
            So why didn't you hire a welding rig for a day? And if the answer is "it's too expensive" why do you think you would get it for free at a library/"makerspace".
  • by koan (80826) on Monday November 21, 2011 @04:28PM (#38128208)

    I'm not religious at all, I don't buy into it, however the positive side of religion is as a community center, a gathering places for people to come together and in that sense I support the idea.
    However I have often thought that libraries could be (and are) the same thing on a higher level, a community center laced with science, knowledge and education, (and fiction too) access for all and a saner, kinder place to gather.
    A church of the geek/nerd as it were.
    I have many fond memories of my local library, and anything that keeps them around is welcome, there should always be some place for us "non-believers" to gather.

    • by Culture20 (968837)

      the positive side of religion is as a community center, a gathering places for people to come together and in that sense I support the idea. However I have often thought that libraries could be (and are) the same thing on a higher level, a community center laced with science, knowledge and education, (and fiction too) access for all and a saner, kinder place to gather.

      Religious temples aren't usually places where people go to never interact with anyone other than an usher (I wouldn't consider a librarian to be anything else in most cases). Libraries, even at their most busy, are more like meditation gardens, where everyone tries to be quiet and pretend the other people aren't there. There's no community, no familial bonding or corporate learning. Certainly no communal worship.

      • by Obfuscant (592200)

        Libraries, even at their most busy, are more like meditation gardens, where everyone tries to be quiet and pretend the other people aren't there. There's no community, no familial bonding or corporate learning. Certainly no communal worship.

        you've missed the last ten years of "library science", then.

        The library cannot be just a library, it must be a communal meeting center and day care and internet service provider and whatever social function is popular in an area. If an area has a need, the library will try to fulfill it. In our fine city, the public library is a place for kids to get free lunches during the summer. Not just poor kids, any kid that walks through the door will be fed for free. Well, at taxpayer expense, I should say.

        You se

        • by swb (14022)

          Like schools, libraries are have bought into the notion that their "mission" can't be accomplished without a social services component, because all members of the community have to be brought up to the same level.

          And this is where mission creep and budget creep starts happening.

          • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdotNO@SPAMworf.net> on Monday November 21, 2011 @06:38PM (#38129954)

            Like schools, libraries are have bought into the notion that their "mission" can't be accomplished without a social services component, because all members of the community have to be brought up to the same level.

            A library's mission is to promote the spreading of knowledge.

            Now, traditionally, say, just over a decade ago, this was done via books. Books of all kinds. Fiction counts too - even though they're read for enjoyment, that enjoyment may lead others to new conclusions. And nevermind the archives of newspapers and access to many journals of many fields.

            With the spread of the Internet, libraries had to become ISPs as well, because it's a vital source of knowledge. And a librarian is skilled enough to help knowledge-seekers decide if something on the Internet is possibly truthful. It's also why libraries try not to be judgemental, either.

            Many libraries also hold roundtables where authors and experts come in and give presentations - again, spreading knowledge. And the kid-reading-time helps inspire kids to seek out knowledge.

            A maker space is a good way to spread hands-on knowledge - the book on the shelf can do so much, now take that knowledge and apply it.

            A library's goal is to provide knowledge to those who seek it, regardless of means. They're often derided these days by people who think the internet is the be-all end-all of everything (usually by people of means who can buy the same books). Or perhaps by scared people of means who also want to keep the poor in their place - how dare they try to improve their lot and possibly compete.

            • by Obfuscant (592200)

              A library's goal is to provide knowledge to those who seek it, regardless of means.

              Regardless of means does not mean regardless of type.

              "What does it feel like to take a hit of cocaine?" is not a type of knowledge that a library is intended to provide. If you are going to argue that you mean "legal knowledge", then let's change that to "what does it feel like to kick a winning goal at a soccer match?".

              That points out the difference between "book larning" (for a very very broad definition of "book") and physical practice.

              If you think that "physical learning" is a library's intended pur

          • by tehcyder (746570)

            Like schools, libraries are have bought into the notion that their "mission" can't be accomplished without a social services component, because all members of the community have to be brought up to the same level.

            So you hate equality so much you'd rather no one was given the opportunity to move up to a higher level?

            • by swb (14022)

              No, I recognize that a school's mission is education.

              A parent's mission is making sure that their children are adequately fed, clothed, disciplined and otherwise prepared to be educated.

              It is not the school's failure that children whose parents cannot meet the above criteria do poorly in school. This failure belongs to the parents, who probably should not be having children they can't care fore.

              If society desires that these parents should be supported, then this should be done through whatever government a

    • And what stops you from gathering with your fellow non-believers?

      I'll just toss this out there as a thought. People naturally form groups... and groups are naturally exclusive. Not everyone can belong to the same group or you can't form those close group bonds with anyone.

      So with a private community center (religion, cultural), they exclude others. Not by law or force :P, just by the reality that a Japanese person is probably not interested in joining the Latin association.

      The problem you face with publi

    • when will the day come that "non-believers" is a reference to dogmatic thinking and the believers are those that have faith in logic and the scientific method

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      Have you even closely examined what happens inside the walls of a church?

      M-F it runs like a small business (or in some cases a not-so-small business), complete with meetings and so on - non-employees rarely show up.

      Saturday it is a ghost town unless rented out for some purpose like a wedding or funeral, or who knows what.

      Sunday morning it is a series of events that involve people sitting in a room lecture style for an hour (maybe standing and singing for part of it - with 30 seconds of token saying hello to

  • Libraries are the means to better a society. They have been around before the great library in Alexandria was burnt by Christians. It only stands to reason they evolve so humanity can too. Perhaps we are not destined for Idiocracy after all.

  • Fab Lab? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by owlnation (858981) on Monday November 21, 2011 @04:48PM (#38128468)
    I'm all for redefining what a library is. I've always felt that libraries are potentially much more useful spaces than they are currently used for. The problem being that they are ultimately run by civil servants who are far from the most creative people on the planet. (They may even be the most uncreative people on the planet).

    However, let us not -- ever -- call these wonderful institutions, "makers spaces", or "fab labs", or any similar kind of retarded buzzword bullshit.

    There's a current global trend to turn museums into dumb infotainment centers for kids. Can we please not also make libraries the information centers for the new Idiocracy.

    By all means expand the boundaries of what a library is, but call it a library. If you are too fucking dumb to know what a library is, you should not even be in one.
    • I think the hackerspaces would be all for co-opting the prestigious and well-respected name of "library". There's a bit of baggage that comes with the name "hackerspace". Some of them anyway. Some revel in the "safety comes as a distinct 3rd" sort of culture which is light on paperwork and PC and heavy on actually doing stuff. And as someone who just started up a organization, the idea of dealing with the general public's children is horrifying.

      So you'd be looking at the well-to-do hackerspaces that are
  • by Brett Buck (811747) on Monday November 21, 2011 @04:52PM (#38128522)

    It's not a "maker space", it's not a "fab lab". It's been referred to a "workshop" or something very similar for, as near as I can tell, 4-500 years. It has the same relevance to a library as a blast furnace.

    library:
    late 14c., from Anglo-Fr. librarie, from O.Fr. librairie "collection of books," noun use of adj. librarius "concerning books," from L. librarium "chest for books," from liber (gen. libri) "book, paper, parchment," originally "the inner bark of trees," probably a derivative of PIE base *leub(h)- "to strip, to peel" (see leaf). The equivalent word in most Romance languages now means "bookseller's shop." O.E. had bochord, lit. "book hord."

    • by Rennt (582550)
      That is a fine etymological definition of library, but ever since Latin went out of style a library means 1) Collection of media (perhaps including, but certainly not limited to books), 2) The building or place where media collections are stored, 3) An organization responsible for collecting, maintaining, and providing access to media.

      Not that maker spaces particularly fit any of those definitions without being generous, but to restrict libraries to "hording books" out of historical zeal seems a little s
  • Or did anyone else glance at this and see FAP LAB? I'm thinking the Fayetteville Library should change the name...

  • Just stop it. Using BS marketing terms are counter-productive.

    Call a workshop a "maker space" is cringe inducing, embarrassing and just downright uncool.

    And dont even *think* of trying to use the word "Synergy" either, it just shows how out of touch with the word you are.

    • by pnot (96038)

      Every time I read the word "Maker" I hear a distant "ka-ching" from the direction of O'Reilly's corporate HQ.

      Also, it makes me think of a guy with a goatee and thick-rimmed glasses hot-gluing cogs to a colander to make a steampunk helmet. ("Workshop" makes me think of places where actual useful stuff happens...)

      • by formfeed (703859)

        Also, it makes me think of a guy with a goatee and thick-rimmed glasses hot-gluing cogs to a colander to make a steampunk helmet.

        Cool! Can you provide a link? Do you have to add bronze color to the hot glue to make it look more like Victorian hot glue or will you spray paint it later? And also, could I make the cogs blink by adding an arduino?

        Dude, I really think you missed your calling. I need to know more about your projects. But maybe I'll run into you at burning man.

  • Here in Florida almost the first thing to get cut in tough times are library hours and budgets. The vast majority of library users are aging out. Many libraries are trying to move to multimedia and electronic content sharing but copyright holders are destroying the buy-once, share-infinite model that libraries thrive on. If a library has to buy a new ebook for every eight times a book use "loaned" then they are doomed. Google books, Project Gutenberg, Amazon and BN are your new libraries.

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      Here in Florida almost the first thing to get cut in tough times are library hours and budgets. The vast majority of library users are aging out. Many libraries are trying to move to multimedia and electronic content sharing but copyright holders are destroying the buy-once, share-infinite model that libraries thrive on. If a library has to buy a new ebook for every eight times a book use "loaned" then they are doomed. Google books, Project Gutenberg, Amazon and BN are your new libraries.

      And in other news, they have libraries in Florida.

  • I wish there was a place that smart people could hang out, have intelligent discussions, share their knowledge, have resources around for researching/discovering/learning/experimenting, and generally participate in intellectually profitable activities. I know that some ancient libraries were centers where lecturers shared ideas and debates were had and new ideas were formed. In modern times, a university sometimes acts like the place that I've listed above, but it is only open to people that enroll and spen

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