Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fox News Gets Dope-Slapped over story on Public Libraries

Well, leave it to Fox News. Their Chicago operation airs this story about how libraries are wastes of tax dollars that should be "on the way out", since we all have the internet and e-books. Naturally, they couldn't get their facts straight, but that shouldn't surprise you.

What might surprise you is the reaction to the story from Mary Dempsey, Chicago Public Library Commissioner, which completely dismantles the story aired by Faux News. Their only response? A (sic) after Ms. Dempsey used the word "wifi" without a dash. To give them a little credit, they did put the response up, at least. I urge you to read both pieces, you will probably not find any surprises from the former, but maybe some from the latter.

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It should also be noted that Fox News is owned by Rupert Murdoch. Mr. Murdoch also owns Newscorp, which has a major interest in the same kinds of information that is available at public and other libraries. But while Mr. Murdoch is busily building pay-per view walls around a number of his information resources,  libraries continue their mission of making information resources available as freely as possible to anyone who walks through their doors - and many who don't (look at the number of people who can access our information resources from anywhere in the world with proper authentication.

Are our resources free? No way; the college invests a lot of money in them, and the library staff keeps trying to reach out to everyone here at Lake Land to make use of these resources. And we have to rely on student fees to pay for access to these resources, which we then offer to all of our students, staff, faculty, and administrators from wherever they are, whenever they need them, without putting in your credit card to pay for information by the slice, so to speak. Email articles and information to yourself at home, or print them here - but use them.

Libraries are all about helping you obtain the information you need in the best way that we can, without worrying overmuch about your ability to pay for it. So who do you want doling out resources - the folks who want to make money from you to do so, or the folks who use the money we get to give the the most choices that we can?

Scott