Tuesday, August 11, 2009

250 Words: Interlibrary Loan

Another unique Public Library service has been terminated. After mid-August we will no long offer InterLibrary Loan. ILL is no longer "cost effective". Apparently, Link+ offers sufficient resources.

Let me speak gently: Public Libraries, funded with public monies, are NEVER COST EFFECTIVE. There is nothing about a public library critical to the safety and security of the community. We are not police, fire or medical. People will not die without a library. We SPEND public money.

We do not base decisions upon cost effectiveness. We make decisions based upon the responsibility we have to the public we serve. In my mind, part of that responsibility is to provide LIBRARY SERVICES not duplicated by any other public or private institution. Are the services we provide redundant? Are we doing, or trying to do, what other institutions do better? Let those who do it better, do it, period.

An example: there are many retail outlets which sell books and rent videos. We buy books and videos and let people use them for free. Can you find in the Library new titles these retail outlets rent or sell? Yes. Can you find older titles the Library has in these retail outlets? No. Our Library actually takes money out and jobs away from the community. Isn't our responsibility to give back to the community, not take from it?

Do this: go to any retail outlet and ask them if you can borrow microfilm from a New Jersey Library through their store. As you leave, listen for laughter.

Gerald F. Ward

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