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I’m feeling a little guilty. I just ended a google+ conversation with “You obviously know nothing about what libraries do, so I will just end this conversation here.” And I added a little passive aggressive smiley face.
Why do I feel guilty? My fellow public librarians know. I should be using the opportunity to educate the public. I should smile and tell about all the wonderful services we provide to those who need them. But when you tell me that “they” should take 25% of the public library budget to create a free 4G network so that people can download books for free? How does that provide access for all? That serves the upper middle class single male.
I should have told him about all the free digital books we already provide–for free–as well as about the great services we can provide him when he loses his cozy coding job over at Acorp. Living out of your car? Get a shelter address and you can have access to 90 minutes a day of computer time, take advantage of the free wireless and download books to the e-reader you bought just before you got that pink slip. At least till you sell it for food money. Don’t think it could happen to you? Watch The Company Men. The only thing saving Bobby Walker from life on the street is a loving family.
I recently read Rotters by Daniel Kraus. It’s a hard to believe tale about a boy who’s mother dies sending him to live with an unknown father one town over who turns out to be a grave robber. Yes, the story is a bit unbelievable, but the situation of going from a living wage family to being practically homeless is not. This is what our middle class male that works in tech forgets.
And what about the other people they have to share the earth with? What about the elderly patron who can’t use a mouse? Those who can’t imagine reading on a screen? Those who need audiobooks on CD because they are blind and can’t see the readout? There are many more scenarios, but I think you get my drift.
This description applies to two of my brothers and my brother in law. I find them to be a bit more enlightened about society than many, but they still don’t quite realize how good they have it. Doesn’t everyone have extra money every month? And I know I shouldn’t just pick on men, but they are the majority that have these blind spots and are in the tech field.
My excuse for not educating this guy? Google+ comments didn’t seem like the place. It would have taken too long and too much space on someone else’s post. Internet etiquette (netiquette?) tells us to blast away on our own forum, so here I am.