Letters to the Editor

Library future

October 7, 2010

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To the editor:

Recently, Amazon, the largest distributor of books, revealed that their electronic e-book sales were already exceeding their hardcover sales. In a Sept. 28, 2010, Wall Street Journal major article, book industry expert/consultant Michael Shatzkin estimated that e-book sales would amount for up to 25 percent of total unit sales by the end of 2012, a startling prediction. E-books sell for about half the price of hardcovers.

What will be the impact on the design requirements for Lawrence’s library expansion? In the 30 years ahead for the library, e-books might quickly dominate. The need for bookshelves would shrink, not expand. E-book supply might then most economically stem from offsite electronic data storage facilities with only terminals required in the library.

Already, bookstore chains are closing down an increasing number of stores with slipping profits, partly due to the vast choices on the Web which have eaten into the time people allot to reading books. The proposed expansion was designed prior to this explosive demand for e-books.

City leaders and library management need to consult with e-book experts such as Mr. Shatzkin to determine the necessity for possible design revisions before construction begins — assuming taxpayers approve the library expansion of $18 million on Nov. 2.

Don Smalter,

Lawrence

Comments

justforfun 4 years, 10 months ago

Oh we'll approve the new library cuz Lawrence voters are a bunch of do-gooders. Reference, T-Bus vote won in a land slide so will the uneeded library! Lawrence goes with the"If you have it they will come" therory.

gatekeeper 4 years, 10 months ago

You are very wrong. Many of us supported the T because we need a bus service in Lawrence. That doesn't mean that we support every tax hike. The library expansion is not needed.

parrothead8 4 years, 10 months ago

You're really better off ignoring him. All of his posts associate the "liberal elite" in some form with whatever he happens to disagree with at the moment, usually with little to no logic involved.

Flap Doodle 4 years, 10 months ago

As I see it, one of the main tasks of a library is to hold and make available books that are no longer in print. Everything worth reading is not going to be offered on Kindle.

Clara Westphal 4 years, 10 months ago

No. The current library staff wants to make the building into a big playground for the kids and a hangout for the teens. The computers are used mostly for them to play their computer games. Try to access one for a real purpose and there aren't any available because of the 'gamers'.

We don't need more taxes for that.

Carol Bowen 4 years, 10 months ago

We have a great library. I have always used it a lot. If I buy the books for myself, then I am the only one who has read them. I donated all my books to libraries. Now, I check out books.

I do have the same question about the activities for teens. I suppose they are worried, because that age group is not frequenting the library.

shorttrees 4 years, 10 months ago

Much as I would love to support the library expansion, I cannot in good conscience do so at this time. I love books, and the library--but what part of broke do our leaders not get? The taxpayers are broke, the governments at all levels are broke (even if it is well hidden) and the economy seems to be slowly deteriorating rather than getting better. That's okay though, like a bunch of spoiled kids they demand "I want it now!" without caring how that will happen.

Additionally, with the municipal bond market in the perilous state that it's in, do they REALLY think an $18 million bond issue is a smart thing to do right now? Where are these people's heads?!

beaujackson 4 years, 10 months ago

Two satellite libraries would be more useful, and could be built for less than $3 million each.

beaujackson 4 years, 10 months ago

Two satellite libraries would be more useful, and could be built for less than $3 million each.

twiggle 4 years, 9 months ago

I agree completely with this sentiment.

Put a branch on the east, and a branch on the west, and have your main branch downtown. Spend 3 million on each and you've still come in under half of what they want for this ill advised expansion.

somedude20 4 years, 10 months ago

books stink!! they have words and facts and sometimes they have pictures but they are nothing like the movies. spend two years reading a book or see a two hour movie. I wish we would go back to caveman times and just color (colour) on the walls we dont need to record history in book form anymore. I say color on the walls and then make a movie based on those drawings. but yeah, books stink

Go KU!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 10 months ago

"Typical mistake--government does not equal society."

Typical mistake-- assuming government is a completely separate entity from society, 100% made up of evildoers (probably extraterrestrials) who can't be trusted.

somedude20 4 years, 10 months ago

I hate books and goverment and I really hate books about the goverment......no mistake at all

gccs14r 4 years, 10 months ago

Then WTF are you doing wasting your time and ours on this web site? You're as bad as NAJH. Move away, the pester the people who still live here.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

Yes, it's curious.

I don't spend my time finding online newspapers in other communities and commenting on their stories.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 10 months ago

Our local government is not broke. They just say that nonsense because a majority of the city commissioners would rather expand our tax bills with more and more miles of new infrastructure that will never pay back the community. Millions upon millions seemingly appear like magic when local developers demand more local big government tax dollars to support their risky land speculation deals. Why do taxpayers stand for this nonsense?

In fact a portion of the 1995 sales tax dollar revenues could diverted to expand and in general maintain this existing valuable community resource aka library. YES it could! In fact this should be option B for the taxpayers because it is our money.

booyalab 4 years, 10 months ago

I actually would be fine with existing tax revenues funding a library expansion. The problem is that it's all spoken for, as are all the proposed tax revenue increases (not counting the library's requested tax revenue increases). Existing tax revenues are only a fraction of the funding meant to cover the budget.

booyalab 4 years, 10 months ago

Private fundraising is a great idea. I'm poor as anything and I would donate. I bet they could easily get the expansion they wanted on a case-by-case basis. Just make an itemized list of what is wanted and people can donate according to what they want to pay for. I guarantee it would cost less than their estimate and it would happen sooner.

mr_right_wing 4 years, 10 months ago

My guess (again, mine) is that at least 75% of the people 'opposed' to the library expansion don't simply think it's a bad idea for now or ever; it simply isn't the right time now. Eventually when things turn around economically, by all means let's fix up our community library, but until that day comes we just need to 'make do'. That's something most of us taxpayers out here understand; we're doing our own personal best to 'make do". Let's consider this whole library thing in about 2 years. For November it gets a "NO" vote from me.

Turnips.

parrothead8 4 years, 10 months ago

Wow...I agree with you. There's a first time for everything, I suppose.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

Me too - and I'm as surprised as you are.

Carol Bowen 4 years, 10 months ago

Has anyone read The Dumbest Generation by Bauerlein? There is some concern about the impact of technology on teens and twenty something's. There are lost practical and analytical skills, a lack of intellectual interests including reading books, and decreased social and communication skills. We should focus on a goal to encourage people to read.

I agree with mr-right-wing. We should wait for the economy to improve.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 9 months ago

Our local government is not broke. They just say that nonsense because a majority of the city commissioners would rather expand our tax bills with more and more miles of new infrastructure that will never pay back the community. Millions upon millions seemingly appear like magic when local developers demand more local big government tax dollars to support their risky land speculation deals. Why do taxpayers stand for this nonsense?

In fact a portion of the 1995 sales tax dollar revenues could diverted to expand and in general maintain this existing valuable community resource aka library. YES it could! In fact this should be option B for the taxpayers because it is our money. GIVE THE TAXPAYERS A REAL CHOICE!

Support Your Local Public Library!

KarenJo 4 years, 9 months ago

I guess I differ from all of you in that I view a strong public library as an investment for the community. Have any of you seen the state of that building lately? It is 40 years old and is in sorry shape! It's time to step up and take care of our public buildings. If that library is a reflection of this town's priorities, what a sorry bunch we are. Now is the time to do this. Costs and interest rates are low. We will get a lot more for our money now. If we wait a couple of years, it will be a lot more expensive and all of you will be whining even louder. Vote YES for the library!

LibraryLover 4 years, 9 months ago

Libraries will always have books - whether on shelves or servers. Librarians will always help put the right book in your hand - or on your iPod. But a library is much more - it's a place to enrich your life, connect to your community, or just enjoy a concert or a book club. And it's a great place to take a free class on how to use that ebook reader!

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