…Librarians begin to believe their value as a wallet and a shopping assistant is an expression of a philosophical value, “to provide the information our community members need.” But that’s a function, not a value. That’s like taking “the customer is always right” as a higher calling. The practices that assume satisfying individual needs are what a library is for runs counter to the communal nature of a library and the deeper values of librarianship.
Public libraries are currently under attack as never before. Quite apart from the imperatives of cutting council spending, many critics question the point of public libraries. With the advent of the internet and the ebook, public libraries are described as out-dated. They are also accused of being too Middle Class and of being a luxury we cannot afford when other services are facing financial pressure. This page aims to address some of these points and to highlight the main purposes that libraries exist to provide.