Friday, July 25, 2014
Are Libraries Obsolete? An Argument for Relevance in the Digital Age
by Mark Y. Herring
Reviewed by Jerry Morris
Terrific title. Terrible format.
By the title alone, I thought this book would serve as a wake-up call for librarians, educators, and leaders of our country to save our libraries. But I had a hard time staying awake while reading the first 122 pages.
In 2001, the author wrote a piece titled, "10 Reasons Why the Internet Is No Substitute For a Library." And he spends the first 122 pages of this book "ferreting out" whether what he said in 2001 is still true. Who cares what he said about libraries in the past? Readers want to know what he says about the future of libraries.
The very last chapter of this book, Chapter 14, beginning on page 187, is titled, "Are Libraries Obsolete After All? Two Scenarios." In this chapter, the author looks into the future, and shows us two worlds: one where libraries are obsolete, and librarians are as extinct as dinosaurs; and another where libraries are still around, and librarians find ways to use the information highway as a tool to provide knowledge for their students and customers.
The very last chapter of this book, Chapter 14, should have been the first chapter of the book. And I recommend readers begin reading this book on page 187, "Are Libraries Obsolete After All? Two Scenarios." Only then can the rest of the book make sense. If one chooses to begin reading on page 1, I fear the reader will find the first 122 pages to be "too much information." But if one chooses to begin reading on page 187, the reader will find the first 122 pages to be "well-found knowledge."