Says Tim Worstall of Forbes: "More titles, easier access and quite possibly a saving of public funds. Why wouldn’t we simply junk the physical libraries and purchase an Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscription for the entire country?"
What an idea! What a deep thinker! It's pure dollars and sense! Fire the librarians, tear down the libraries, and give all the money to AMAZON! After all, they know what to do with it, right? Let AMAZON be in charge of what the public reads from now on and into eternity! I trust them.
Business purists like Mr. Worstall are dummies in intellectual clothing. The only thing that matters to him is money. Forget after school and adult literacy programs, lecture series that are free and open to the public, literary events with guest authors, and the plain and simple public good of having a gathering place where people can read, think, research, and be together.
Forget the blow to the economy of all those millions of suddenly out of work librarians, who would now have far fewer places to tender their valuable skills. (And they are skilled. Very.)
Oh wait! Mr Worstall has a solution! They can work at AMAZON!!
Forget the slap in the face to all those people who have dedicated themselves to the love of literature, and to the good of their communities. Forget the deep insult of devaluing them to the level of a portable reading device.
The fact that this guy has a national platform is honestly baffling.
What concerns me about this article isn't really the idea, which is ridiculous and obviously stupid. I'm more concerned about this trend of devaluing our public servants. If we devalue our teachers, then we devalue learning too. If we devalue librarians, we devalue literature and research. And do I have to point out that both these professions are populated largely by women? Is this a coincidence, or are suggestions like Mr. Worstall's just chauvinism in the guise of fiscal streamlining?
I'm not providing a link to the FORBES article because it's probably click bait anyway. Instead I'll link to this blog piece by a NYC librarian that responds to Worstall's article rather hilariously:
If you love books, if you love your library like I do, you have to stand up for it. We all must defend our teachers and librarians, because they're under attack in a very real way. Teachers and librarians are heroes on the front lines defending our crumbling society, trying to battle the forces that are destroying literature and love of learning. They deserve our utmost respect.