Are Libraries Disappearing?

A couple days ago, I was reading about the plans to completely rebuild the Stanley A. Milner Library downtown Edmonton, and came across a few comments asking what the point is.  Libraries will disappear soon.

Why would libraries disappear?  Well, he says that since everyone’s going to be reading eBooks in the future, we no longer need paper copies.  Therefore, libraries will be useless.  I disagree.

First, libraries hold a lot of rare and old books.  These are not going to be digitised.  They’re actually quite valuable, and if people want to see them, they have to go to a library.

Second, not all books can legally be downloaded as an eBook.  It depends on the publisher and the author.  If they don’t want it available as an eBook, it can only be available in print.  Don’t want to buy it? Go to a library.

Libraries aren’t just places to find books.  They’re also places to study.  Many students go there to study.  When I was in university, we had to use the library for research.  Online research was not allowed.  It could not be cited in an official research paper.  We had to use hard copies for our research, and the only place to find them was in the library.  This included research journals, books that would cost hundreds of dollars to buy, and microfiche.  Good luck getting those online.

Libraries are social institutes.  People gather there for many purposes.  Children gather there for social events, reading, and learning to discover the joys of reading.  I can’t see kids pulling out iPads in a classroom to search for books online, go through Amazon and purchase them.  They go to the library, which, in my opinion, is a lot more fun, and the kids will interact with each other.

Libraries offer books to read for free for a limited time.  Putting them all online and available for free would mean that authors make nothing.  As a result, there’d be very little new fiction.  The entire publishing industry (including indie publishing) would collapse.  Sorry, no new books.  What’s the point in writing them if they can’t sell books, since they’d be available for free online?

Finally, I like libraries and books.  No, I love libraries and books.  I love being in libraries, and I love holding books in my hand.  Nothing beats that.  And besides, real books don’t need batteries.

What do you think?

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Flash Fiction #7 – Fishing for Votes (Flash! Friday)

For the second week in a row, I’ve entered Flash! Friday and I’ve got another quick flash fiction for you.  The prompt for this one was to include a politician and base the story on a photograph of a couple men fishing in Yugoslavia.  Although the photo has them using nets, I used something a bit different.  Check it out:

Fishing for Votes

The motorboat parted the coastal waters of the northern Pacific Ocean. Two fishing rods bobbed with the motion of the waves.

“Tell you what, Carl,” said the thin man. “If you catch something impressive, I’ll back you.”

Carl smiled and leaned back in his seat. “You know I’ll win, Jeff.”

“We’ll see. You’re an amateur at this.”

“I may just have raw talent,” he said as he noticed his rod bending down and the left. “This amateur’s got something.”

“Beginner’s luck.”

Carl snatched his fishing rod and reeled in the fish. He pulled up and grunted. “It’s a big one.”

“Probably seaweed,” Jeff said, laughing.

Carl fought the fish, but slowly, the fishing line came up from the depths. The fish slapped its tail on the surface and Carl pulled it in.

“Damn, it’s a king salmon. I guess I’ll have to back your nomination for party leadership.”

Carl grinned. “Too bad I can’t be king.”

Hope you enjoyed it.  Thanks for reading!

What Will You Write? #7 Is Closed

The seventh edition of What Will You Write? has come to a close.  I’d like to thank Peggy for the prompt and our lone participant for joining.  I think we all know who the winner is.

I’d like to mention that What Will You Write? is going on hiatus again.  But this time it’s due to NaNoWriMo, which starts in a month.  A lot of people will be preparing for it and won’t have much time for flash fiction challenges like this.  We’ll be back in December, though!  Not only will we be back, but we’ll have some changes in store.  Hopefully, these changes will encourage more participation in the challenge.

The post with the winning entry will be up later this weekend when Peggy has her part written up.  She may only be judging one entry, but she has to say why it’s good.  Look for it soon.