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LIS-PUB-LIBS  November 2007

LIS-PUB-LIBS November 2007

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Subject:

Re: Library books get insert adverts

From:

David McMenemy <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

David McMenemy <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 6 Nov 2007 23:40:32 -0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (111 lines)

What's so bad is very clear.  Public libraries should not be trading their
image for a few bucks.  That is not just a big deal, it is an immense deal
if you believe in what public libraries stand for, as I and many others do.
It is selling out a proud heritage for nothing.  There's that word again you
seem to hate so much, pride.

It's hardly inevitable.  Of course it is a source of cash, but people pay
taxes to receive a public service, they don't pay taxes to receive a service
that then fires private ads at them.  As other contributors have pointed
out, public libraries should strive to be better than that.   It should be
free from any outside influence, certainly any influence that is paid for,
and once that aspiration is gone, it becomes a shadow of itself in terms of
status.

My approach is hardly anti-advertising, I have no problem with advertising
at all, I am as susceptible to a well sold product as the next person.  But
it doesn't belong in a public library.  Society needs spaces free of the
mindless junk we are deluged with day in day out, spaces that attempt to be
better in terms of their aspirations and goals for the people they serve.
Historically public libraries were one of those places.  It seems no more,
sadly.

As for my point on managerialism, it is the blind obsession that the public
should ape the private, even when it is clearly nonsensical in terms of its
utilisation in many public services, that is at the route of so much that is
wrong with the sector.  This is just another horrible example of where that
mindset takes you.

As an aside I was discussing this issue with a colleague today, someone who
has worked at high levels in the private sector, not a wannabe like so many
public sector managerialists.  He was incredulous that the library "brand"
was so expendable as to toss it aside so lightly.  The reality is that a
well run private sector organisation wouldn't dream of compromising its
image for a few bucks.  It knows how important that "brand" is for its
future.  Would it were so in this case!
    
--------------------------------------------------------------
David McMenemy
Department of Computer and Information Sciences
University of Strathclyde
Glasgow, Scotland
--------------------------------------------------------------


-----Original Message-----
From: lis-pub-libs: UK Public Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
On Behalf Of Loz Pycock
Sent: 06 November 2007 18:23
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Library books get insert adverts

David McMenemy wrote:
> It's all about interpretation, isn't it.  The bottom line is we are
> advocating CHARGING companies to insert their junk mail into books. That
> means people with wealth have access to people who go to a library to
simply
> borrow a book, not be sold something. 
>   
So we get some extra cash, which can go into the bookfund. I'm really 
not seeing what is so bad here. My concern would be that this would 
almost certainly end up as extra rubbish in our libraries/on our streets
> The fact people in the profession think that is simply progress beggars
> belief!
>   
Who has defined it as progress? Some see it as inevitable, some see it 
as a useful source of extra cash.
> I was waiting for the first person to use the old "do nothing and living
in
> the past" line of persuasion. The old classic, I don't really have a
> positive argument, but I will paint you as old fashioned, etc.  
>   
Whereas you are obviously putting forward a well-thought out and 
balanced counter-argument based on.... what exactly? "This isn't what we 
would have done in the past"? I really hope your next post involves the 
phrase "I take old-fashioned as a badge of pride".
> This is clearly not about moving services forward at all, it is a cynical
> revenue raising gimmick that is an insult to users and the service.  It is
a
> wonderful sacrifice at the altar of managerialism, though, which is why
I'm
> sure many obsessed with that mantra think it a wonderful idea.
Could you please explain exactly how this is 'a wonderful sacrifice at 
the altar of managerialism' because I genuinely do not understand what 
you mean.
>   
>
> The money raised from this will do little or nothing to stave off closures
> other than make our current commercially obsessed government smile from
ear
> to ear.  Frankly that is typical of the scare stories people use to
justify
> the unjustifiable.  You don't sacrifice your values to curry favour with
> people who detest the concept of what we do in the first place.
>   
Isn't this just anti-advertising being dressed up as something more 
noble? I mean, I do actually agree with the general thrust of what you 
are saying, I'm just dubious as to how it's being said.
> But then I'm old fashioned.
>   
Oh, I was so close...

-- 
- -- 
Loz

"I was in a sushi bar and it dawned on me - how could I discriminate 
between a cow and a fish?" - Carre Otis.
"Singing is a gift from God, and when people say I can't sing, it's kind 
of like insulting God." - Fergie, Black Eyed Peas
-This email address can be temperamental, so you can also try 
[log in to unmask]

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