Older and poor people will often avoid Starbucks altogether, because the fare is too expensive and they feel that they don’t belong.The elderly library patrons I got to know in New York told me that they feel even less welcome in the trendy new coffee shops, bars and restaurants that are so common in the city’s gentrifying neighborhoods.
The real problem that libraries face is that so many people are using them, and for such a wide variety of purposes, that library systems and their employees are overwhelmed.
According to a 2016 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, about half of all Americans ages 16 and over used a public library in the past year, and two-thirds say that closing their local branch would have a “major impact on their community.”Libraries are being disparaged and neglected at precisely the moment when they are most valued and necessary. In part it’s because the founding principle of the public library — that all people deserve free, open access to our shared culture and heritage — is out of sync with the market logic that dominates our world.
To appreciate why this matters, compare the social space of the library with the social space of commercial establishments like Starbucks or Mc Donald’s.
These are valuable parts of the social infrastructure, but not everyone can afford to frequent them, and not all paying customers are welcome to stay for long.
Poor and homeless library patrons don’t even consider entering these places.
Essay On Visit To The Library Technology Effects On Society Essay
They know from experience that simply standing outside a high-end eatery can prompt managers to call the police. This is not to say that libraries are always peaceful and serene.Patrons are prohibited from borrowing books and using computers once their overdue fees surpass , not .Ideas for and against libraries invest more in technology than books.It’s worth noting that “liber,” the Latin root of the word “library,” means both “book” and “free.” Libraries stand for and exemplify something that needs defending: the public institutions that — even in an age of atomization, polarization and inequality — serve as the bedrock of civil society.If we have any chance of rebuilding a better society, social infrastructure like the library is precisely what we need.The openness and diversity that flourish in neighborhood libraries were once a hallmark of urban culture. Though American cities are growing more ethnically, racially and culturally diverse, they too often remain divided and unequal, with some neighborhoods cutting themselves off from difference — sometimes intentionally, sometimes just by dint of rising costs — particularly when it comes to race and social class.Libraries are the kinds of places where people with different backgrounds, passions and interests can take part in a living democratic culture.For many, the library is the main place they interact with people from other generations.For children and teenagers, libraries help instill an ethic of responsibility, to themselves and to their neighbors, by teaching them what it means to borrow and take care of something public, and to return it so others can have it too.But the problem that libraries face today isn’t irrelevance.Indeed, in New York and many other cities, library circulation, program attendance and average hours spent visiting are up.