Ceci N’Est Pas une Bibliotheque

The Wall Street Journal cracked me up this morning when they ran a story about how a library pickup service could potentially do away with librarians.  I have a handy reference image to point out the difference.


4 comments on “Ceci N’Est Pas une Bibliotheque

  1. dcseain says:

    Is a bookmobile a library?

    • Eric S Riley says:

      To carry forward the analogy: Is a food truck a restaurant?

      The assumption is that both the book drop and the bookmobile could operate independently of a host library to support them. They cannot. These are library services, not library substitutes. I worked on a bookmobile, and it was a great little service for people. But it was still a library service pushed out by the library to provide access to materials and services unavailable in a particular neighborhood, it was not a substitute for the library itself.

  2. dcseain says:

    Pushed out by the library as in institution, yes. By the library as a neighborhood place, not so much. Need stacks be available for browsing be necessary for it to be a library? When i started researching at LOC, i could browse the stacks. They closed the stacks to the public long ago. It is no less a library.

  3. Eric S Riley says:

    But the LOC still has a physical place, with stacks, and with an army of librarians working the floors. The argument being made in this article is that because of these distributed services that librarians and libraries as a space are no longer required. That’s patently ridiculous. Story time doesn’t happen at a book drop. Public meetings can’t be held in a bookmobile. The library as a place is a public commons, one of the few spaces left, and the only one specifically dedicated to intellectual inquiry and public debate. The resources provided by the public library can be provided to the public through any number of means, but there needs to be a place for them to be provided, staff to select, organize, and maintain the materials, as well as providing the “third space” environment for people to engage with one another and the body of human knowledge.

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