1/10/2017

Are public libraries obsolete?

Philadelphia spends about $50 million per year on public libraries (much more if you count the rental value of the land that they are on).  Lake County Florida (discussed below) apparently spends about $1.1 million on their public library system.  From the Orlando Sentinel:
Chuck Finley appears to be a voracious reader, having checked out 2,361 books at the East Lake County Library in a nine-month period this year. 
But Finley didn't read a single one of the books, ranging from "Cannery Row" by John Steinbeck to a kids book called "Why Do My Ears Pop?" by Ann Fullick. That's because Finley isn't real. 
The fictional character was concocted by two employees at the library, complete with a false address and drivers license number. . . . 
The goal behind the creation of "Chuck Finley" was to make sure certain books stayed on the shelves — books that aren't used for a long period can be discarded and removed from the library system. 
 George Dore, the library's branch supervisor who was put on administrative leave for his part in the episode, said he wanted to avoid having to later repurchase books purged from the shelf. He said the same thing is being done at other libraries, too. . . . 
the Lake County library system receive a percentage of their funding based on circulation levels. . . .
It will be interesting to see what the true usage rate is for books at public libraries.  Only then could we determine if public libraries in their current form make sense.  Possibly public libraries might just end up being some computers set up for people to look at.

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