To the editor:
I found Mark Hirschey's column of Oct. 2 ("Libraries are limited, obsolete") to be a disturbing reflection of commonly held attitudes regarding libraries.
While the Internet may provide a high degree of convenience, it is not a reliable source of information. Blogs, instant messaging and publicly edited sites such as Wikipedia may be a good place to quickly and casually find information, but these are not acceptable references for serious research purposes.
I am troubled to see how many college-level students indiscriminately use the Internet as a research tool. Anyone with computer access can post information to the Internet, which provides an exciting democratization of information and opinion, yet also a dangerous pitfall. When referencing scholarly books or journals, readers are gathering information from edited and juried volumes, sources with far more integrity and responsibility than most Internet sources. There is no source of information that is infallible, but the push to fund technology at the cost of traditional print media is dangerous and degrades the educational value of the library.
Mr. Hirschey's goal of Internet access for all economic levels is noble, but access to the printed word coupled with the many other services provided by the Lawrence Public Library is far too valuable a resource to neglect.