Ye Olde Archive Archived Posts: 2004-2009

17Jun/08Off

“Public” vs “Library”: Which idea is more important?

Miss Conduct of the Boston Globe Magazine explores how libraries might be allowing the idea of what it means to be public to disrupt what their mission is as a library.

But I do think we have the right to pick up a new Alexander McCall Smith or study for an exam without feeling threatened--and a large, unwashed, clearly unstable man is threatening to a woman, or an elderly person, or a person with children who need protection. In their zeal to remain "public," are libraries in fact driving away significant segments of the public they are meant to serve? Are they emphasizing "public" at the expense of "library"?

Surely there's a middle ground, but where do we toe the line? Thoughts?

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