Sunday, January 31, 2010

Library Rant

Sunshine and 33° F

Nice weather for a ride to the library to pick up some DVD's that they had on hold for me. Yes. Videos. You see, I'm cheap. I don't rent videos often (two trips to Red Box last year) and I don't belong to NetFlix. Why should I, when I can put a hold on videos when they come out and check them out for free? Thank you taxpayers of Johnson County. I'm not really happy that the library had to resort to competing with Blockbuster in an attempt to get people in the doors. I'm sure it was a rational decision, so I can rationalize my using the service. I would imagine that the majority of the items checked out from the library now are DVD's and video games. Sad. But, like I said, I'm cheap. If I think about it, is checking a movie or music CD out any different from checking out a book? It is still a tax subsidized way to circumvent paying an author for their work. Last year I read 20 books, 17 of which I borrowed from the library.

But I digress. Using my trip to the library to pick up the videos on hold for me as an excuse to get out on the bike, I saddled up and away I went. I locked my bike up to the otherwise empty bike rack and headed to the self-checkout section. I had four items on hold and only one item (a music CD) was there. I went to the desk to ask if they could check in back for the three DVD's and was told that a bunch of DVD's were stolen the day before and the ones I had on hold were among the missing. The librarian made a comment about $15,000 dollars worth being stolen. I don't know if that is a yearly total or if it was this last weekend's loss. I said I was sorry to hear it and she said "I'm sorry. It's your tax dollars." And it is. But should we be spending this much money on providing free DVD rentals which also appear to be so easily stolen? Do we spend more tax dollars on security systems or personnel to protect the DVD's? Do we stop libraries from buying DVD's and have them gradually revert back being a source for reference books and books that we want to read but don't want to own? I don't think there's a good answer for any of these questions.

1 comment:

John said...

I might also add that many of the discs are donated. Those that are purchased are usually done at wholesale/previously view, etc.

They pay no royalties because all library materials fall under "fair use."

I thought the "it's your tax dollars" sounded like you should be more mad about it. Bet she forgot to lock up the night before :)