where the writers are
“A Most Expensive Book” in the Library Battle

The New York Times news article on the upcoming auctioning of one of the first public library books in the US isn’t the price it’s going to fetch.  The important issue, to me, is the shrinking public access to libraries and resources.  Privatization is a genuine threat to the public access that is at the heart of our definition of the ‘written record.’  Deep in this story is the report that libraries are selling off volumes and shrinking budgets sounds to me as if there’s less money for acquisition as well which leaves great work out of the public record and thereby lost to time. The written record of human existence cannot be left into the hands of people with money, or companies who could easily profit from currently non-profit ventures such as Google’s current endeavor. Like the roads and the military, the written record of global life must be available to all. The American Library Association itself has issued a task force report (alas, no link is provided in the NYTimes article) called “Keep Public Libraries Public.”  I’d love to see their plan of action.