two links on the economics of libraries

These two links that I’ve seen in the past two days seem to be saying very interesting and similar things.

1. Peter Brantley the head of the Digital Library Federation wonders how access to networked information resouces is affecting what we do in reasearch libraries in his post If Libraries had Shareholders. Lively commenting.
2. Over at the Freakonomics blog Stephen Dubner asks If Public Libraries Didn’t Exist, Could You Start One Today? where he talks about the enormous influence of publishers in today’s book world and wondering if they’d even let you start up an institution where you’d share the things they are trying to sell.

3 comments for “two links on the economics of libraries

  1. Jamie
    19Jul07 at 12:52

    With regards to ‘If Libraries had Shareholders’ I somewhat question the statistics. Both academic libraries that I have worked at have seen a decrease in circulation, though not as drastic as this chart shows. At both library systems the actual foot traffic has remained steady if not increased.

    I have often felt circ. stats give only a partial picture. Back in my day, there was no computer lab or learning commons or wifi in my university library. The photocopy charges at my current library are actually 2 cents cheaper today than when I did my BA over 20 years ago. To write my paper I took out as much material as possible and went home and typed up the paper. Now the library is much more of a destination than it ever was (agreeing somewhat with the notion of a student community centre). To get a proper view of usage, things like counting book and journal left on reshelving trucks has to be factored in as well.

    Of course that does not address the whole drop in ref questions…

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