January 11, 2007

What we're up against

Last week InsideHigherEd had a fine little article on the place of libraries in modern universities, both physically and virtually, The Changing ‘Place’ of the Library by Laura Rein. The article broke no new ground, had no startling insights, provcded no new revolution or promoted any new buzzword. But it was a fine overview of the state of the library for the wider academic community.

That's not what I'm interested in here. There were two comments by Muvaffak Gozaydin.

Libraries in 21st Century

Dear Laura Every place has a primary function and then some secondary functions. You defend libraries with their second functions. Library is a place supposedly everyone can access, read books, let everybody reads the same books, so it is cheaper to read a book in Library than to buy the book.So Library was a place to create productivity, efficiency.But today they are waste of money like to set up brick and mortar schools of any kind.Today library is another brick and mortar place. Can you imagine how much money you bury in cement, brick and sand. Construction is the most expensive thing in the world.Also only limited number of people can go to that library. My library, ONLINE GOOGLE Library appeals to whole world, provide access to 3 billion books in the world, to 4 billion people of the world. In Turkey we stopped to invest on libraries to bury our money to sand, cement and brick. Thanks to Google to have us reach Stanford, Berkeley, Harvard and more and more libraries in the world. Newbooks will also be put on internet evrybody will access from there. Not from a library. 6 years ago we also started making libraries smaller. Rather than books we stored CDs at much less price and accessable from all campus without going to library at nights.

A library is very expensive investment to get together, to have coffee or enjoy the scinery. There are places at much lower costs. ONLINE promoter of the world Muvaffak GOZAYDIN mgozaydin@hotmail.com+902124380290 +905322919676

And this one, after a few other comments in defense of libraries:
Libraries will be extinct in 2025

Dear Mary Thanks for your thoughts.Yes you are right. Today all online libraries have to use existing brick and mortar libraries until they become extinct.Before they become extinct, there will be huge digital knowledge storage houses at Congress and United Nations. It will be managed by Google probably. Every new book will be stored by them as well by law.

They will store every title in the world and pay the author as intellectual property rights fee according to how much that book has been used all over the world. There is nothing free in the world. But we the lucky citizens have to reduce price of everything so that everyone should be able to efford it, particularly books. It is our duty to be a mankind. Today if Google has some problems because of Stanford, Berkeley, Harvard libraries I would suggest them they should pay some reasonable amount. Probably most of those books are not on sale any more anyhow.

By the way I went to Stanford and CALTECH for 8 years of graduate work. You are in the ivy tower in beautiful UOM campus. I am thinking of the street bumbers on the Market Street in San Francisco in the morning as well as people in India, China, Cambochia.

When Libraries are closed Universities will use the saved huge resources for better education, may be ONLINE education. Best regards.Muvaffak GOZAYDIN of Turkey mgozaydin@hotmail.com

I'm not going to try and refute Gozaydin's many points, some of which are valid, some of which are questionable and some of which are plain looney. They're mostly dealt with in the other comments on the article. What I find interesting is the tone. He's positively gleeful at the prospect of libraries declining, joyful even. He's mocking, sarcastic, mean, dismissive, anything else you want to name. What's up with that? And the glee over the death of libraries is not uncommon among the techno-utopians. And haven't we all had interactions with students at our institutions who seem to hold us in the same disregard? Have libraries and librarians, over the generations of our info-monopoly, so pissed off a significant segment of our patrons that they now relish the propect of our demise?


Anonymous said...

Just an observation, but it would seem that one does not learn correct English language, expression, punctuation or communication from online learning. At least, it's not evident in the two missives quoted above.

The Warrior Librarian

John Dupuis said...

Thanks, Warrior. Yeah, it is pretty funny. But the guy seems to be Turkish, so we should give him the benefit of the doubt on that.