Saturday, October 28, 2006

Helen Rumbelow, political correspondent for The Times of London and A response to her article

Lisnews had an article from Helen Rumbelow last night which caused me no sense of unease. Her article looked at the Idea Store in Tower Hamlets in east London.

She goes on to describe how the library in the UK is dead, saying:-

[In] the Nineties, and the internet, happened. The visitors to the library of my childhood drifted away. Almost anything you could want there, the computer could do better.

The man who shuffled in with an embarrassing medical condition to research? Far more information online, and in the comfort of your own home. Ditto almost any research project.

So everything is on Google is it? Um, well thats not true. Google has around 15 % of all written material. Libraries through inter-library loans can bring that to a higher number. But then thats just for researchers and Helen CERTAINLY is not one of them. Also libraries provide internet access to those without access for free. My library even has wi-fi for its users.Libraries are public places that create and often can sustain a community intellectually and socially.

As she's writing for london I suppose its hard for her to look beyond the realms of her Chiswick home. Not to say libraries are not declining, but they are required. Thank god I read The Guardian.


Dr. Fiction said...

While a good deal of useful information is certainly available on the internet, libraries remain indispensible for anyone with a brain and an itch to nourish it. I spent four months in London a couple of years ago and would have felt immeasurably poorer had I not had access to my local branch library (not to mention the incomparable British Library). Long live the book--and those who put a roof over its head!

Anonymous said...