Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Libratarians

From the annals of failed movements: libratarians. These were a group of California librarians that felt libraries should be free. That seemed odd to most other California librarians, given that libraries were already free, subsidized by government to provide the public with knowledge. But Libratarians didn't mean for libraries to be free of charge; they wanted them free of government influence. No books would ever be banned, and librarians were free to place a few service charges. The Libratarians followed trending books and anticipated releases. Bram Stoker's Dracula was still free, but the Twilight novels were fifty cents to check out, with a twenty-five cent charge if you wanted to get on the waiting list. Dan Brown, John Grisham and the like were "evergreen" titles, with year-round charges. Libratarians claimed sympathy for the public and allowed some titles to go with charges only part of the year, like those books necessary for school book reports that only began having fees in September. Being true to the market, when a book like Eclipse remained in high demand despite the fifty cent fee, they raised the fee. It was not them; it was the market. If their salaries rose, that was the market. If they were the only libraries for dozens of miles and so kids had to come to them, that was the market. And when the Kindle and iPad eventually undercut their reading fees and didn't have wait-lists, their going out of business was also the market.


  1. Wow. This is funny, but kinda ticks me off. I think we are political opposites, mister. ;-)

  2. Sorry for ticking you off, Jodi. That was not my intention.


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