Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

California Library's Plan: Get Rid of Books

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the just-crazy-enough-to-wait-what dept.

Books 197

HansonMB writes "Facing the likelihood of state budget cuts that would eliminate $15 million for library and reading programs – and, apparently, create a future in which people no longer read things on paper – the city of Newport Beach is considering turning its first library into a community center that would host all the same amenities – except for the books." The library has been inundated with hate-mail as people around the country have learned of their idea, and they hastened to clarify that no final decision has been made; carting books in as needed from other locations was always part of the plan. Whether or not they go through with it, efforts are underway elsewhere to create a massive, public digital library, spurred in part by the recent ruling against Google Books.

cancel ×

197 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

I Know! (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715082)

I bet they can raise money by selling all their books on eBay (or some such site) and they won't have to worry about this shit anymore. That'll show those kids!

starting no doubt with 'rainbows end'... (1)

jdogalt (961241) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715086)

There's a great fictional story about this- pick up a copy of Vinge's 'Rainbows End' at your local libr... oops.

Re:starting no doubt with 'rainbows end'... (4, Interesting)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715212)

There's a great fictional story about this- pick up a copy of Vinge's 'Rainbows End' at your local libr... oops.

Except in that case, if i remember correctly at least, the library was giving into bribes from a megacorp that wanted to (destructively) digitize the books as part of their business plan. So it was due to corporate greed and stupidity.

In this case the public doesn't want to pay taxes to fund the library, but they get outraged when the library tries to make cuts to deal with the reduced amount of funding. So it's due to public greed and stupidity.

Re:starting no doubt with 'rainbows end'... (3, Insightful)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715268)

well, it's probably two different publics, with little overlap...

Re:starting no doubt with 'rainbows end'... (3, Insightful)

RajivSLK (398494) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715518)

There is no single "public". Some people don't want to pay for the library other people love the library and are outraged. Sounds a little less irrational that way.

Re:starting no doubt with 'rainbows end'... (2, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715580)

The public doesn't want to pay taxes to fund 6-figure public sector salaries and pensions, and the people making that pay decide to cut libraries and schools instead of their own pay (shocking, I know - but to give some excuse, at the state level the constitution requires pensions be funded first), and the public is outraged.

Cali is doomed anyhow - we may be the pioneer of state bankruptcy before much longer here, and many local governments are in crisis already (as the state's ability to bail out local governments is quite limited), and things like keeping the streeghlights on, the roads patches, and the trees clear of the power lines are fading before the all-consuming pension costs. (No joke: in my city the city switched from cutting trees away from roads and power lines to requiring homeowners to hire someone to do that - permit required, of course).

Still greed and stupidity, of course, but not so simple as you make it out to be.

Re:starting no doubt with 'rainbows end'... (0)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715830)

God damn greedy librarians, already known for their vast wealth, they are just trying to extract more of the poor, oppressed, public's money to horde MOSTLY LIBERAL books like the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf.

Fucking drains on society. Libraries should be run by the FREE MARKET!

Re:starting no doubt with 'rainbows end'... (5, Insightful)

kinkozmasta (1140561) | more than 3 years ago | (#35716000)

The public doesn't want to pay taxes to fund 6-figure public sector salaries and pensions, and the people making that pay decide to cut libraries and schools instead of their own pay

That maybe true, but the public is grossly misinformed if they think there are many public sector workers making those kinds of salaries. The average salary of a local public library librarian was $47,940 in 2008, for example. http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos068.htm [bls.gov]

(shocking, I know - but to give some excuse, at the state level the constitution requires pensions be funded first), and the public is outraged.

And why shouldn't pensions be funded first? They are nothing more than deferred payment of a worker's salary. Not paying a paying the pension is basically saying "We'll give you $100, $80 now and $20 later, to do x amount of work." Then after the work is done only paying them $80. I can't imagine any other scenario where that would be fair or legal.

Cali is doomed anyhow - we may be the pioneer of state bankruptcy before much longer here, and many local governments are in crisis already (as the state's ability to bail out local governments is quite limited), and things like keeping the streeghlights on, the roads patches, and the trees clear of the power lines are fading before the all-consuming pension costs.

Employee salaries and benefits only make up about 10% of the state budget [ca.gov] ($7B salaries + $3.4B benefits) (p.177). This can hardly be blamed for the budget woes of California. Much more serious are Prop 13 and 2/3 majority needed for the state senate to pass any tax increases.

Re:starting no doubt with 'rainbows end'... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35716156)

If I only had mod points - being married to a librarian, I can only say this: librarians are civil servants who look to better our society by helping people obtain and use information. If the rest of us should only be so luck to find ourselves doing something half as laudable.

Re:starting no doubt with 'rainbows end'... (2)

magarity (164372) | more than 3 years ago | (#35716350)

Employee salaries and benefits only make up about 10% of the state budget ($7B salaries + $3.4B benefits) (p.177). This can hardly be blamed for the budget woes of California. Much more serious are Prop 13 and 2/3 majority needed for the state senate to pass any tax increases.

That number for salaries is for state employees, not all employees of the lower government levels. There is $30B for education and the biggest expense in education is salaries but teachers are employees of local school districts and universities. Something like 90% of a typical school district's expenses are salaries. Other categories are similar; a lot of the money goes to localities where they go for local government employees' salaries.

Re:starting no doubt with 'rainbows end'... (1)

samweber (71605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35716110)

The public doesn't want to pay taxes to fund 6-figure public sector salaries and pensions, and the people making that pay decide to cut libraries and schools instead of their own pay

Indeed, 6-figure public salaries are an outrage! Kids graduating college with MBAs earn 6-figure salaries in their first jobs, and how DARE police chiefs, city planners and those people responsible for the safety and well-being of entire cities even consider themselves to be worth even a small fraction of the worth of an 22-year-old with an MBA! It is not enough that public employees are paid significantly less than their corporate counterparts, but they should be publicly flogged, each and every day, to punish them for being willing to work for the good of the citizens of this fine country!

Re:starting no doubt with 'rainbows end'... (1)

kick6 (1081615) | more than 3 years ago | (#35716454)

Indeed, 6-figure public salaries are an outrage! Kids graduating college with MBAs earn 6-figure salaries in their first jobs, and how DARE police chiefs, city planners and those people responsible for the safety and well-being of entire cities even consider themselves to be worth even a small fraction of the worth of an 22-year-old with an MBA! It is not enough that public employees are paid significantly less than their corporate counterparts, but they should be publicly flogged, each and every day, to punish them for being willing to work for the good of the citizens of this fine country!

What fantasy world do you live in where a zero-experience college graduate armed with an MBA makes 6 figures. Cuz....I'd LOVE to live there!

Re:starting no doubt with 'rainbows end'... (4, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35716352)

The public doesn't want to pay taxes to fund 6-figure public sector salaries and pensions

I know. It's those greedy, bottom-feeding librarians, and schoolteachers and cops and firemen and garbage collectors who have brought this great nation to its knees.

We've got to stop those people before they wipe out the good common folk, who work for a living and pay their taxes, like the hedge fund managers and investment bankers.

the all-consuming pension costs

Public employee pensions make up an average 2-3% of state budgets nationwide.

Since it's clear that your anger at having to trim the tree on your own goddamn property, along with your greed and stupidity, lgw, have so corrupted your thinking that you're unable to accept the fact that the average public employee makes about $65k and the average employee nationwide about $43k. But see, private employees tend to skew much more to the blue collar. You've got to average in all those people working at Wal-Mart and McDonalds for minimum wage, whereas most public employees are the educated, blue collar variety.

When you figure in level of education, there really isn't a discrepancy between public and private employees. It's been fabricated to make people like you, who lack the analytic ability to understand why you should be worrying about why your company has screwed you out of a pension instead of why someone else has managed to keep their pension (hint: unions are good for workers), get all pissed off and shake your fist at the teevee and completely miss the reason why your income and benefits and working conditions continue to deteriorate to the point that if you had a wife she's probably wishing she married that nice guy who became a lawyer with a nice practice (and who was a much better lay). And most important, you'll forget who you really ought to be blaming in this whole mess.

People like you, who get played like violins by the people who are screwing you right into the ground and end up blaming everyone who has got something that you don't, disgust me. The only thing that attenuates my disgust is the knowledge that you have to live with your impotent anger like bad case of the piles.

Just don't fuck up our country any more. OK? I don't want my kid to have to grow up in a third-world shithole because people like you were pissed off that some college professor (yes, they're counted as "public employees") gets a six figure salary.

Re:starting no doubt with 'rainbows end'... (1)

richlv (778496) | more than 3 years ago | (#35716126)

it would be kinda cool if we had some technology to distribute books and other content like that to people without having massive expenses for maintaining physical storages and systems for lending them. of course, we could not reach whole population at first, but we could at least serve part in that way, thus significantly reducing the costs to the society.

while it might reduce the income for some authors, we are seeing a huge growth in content provided with no room of growth for demand for it, so it would fit nicely with demand-supply curve. it's somewhat of a shame that technology does not keep up with our increased artistic output. society has outgrown the technology for sure.

Re:starting no doubt with 'rainbows end'... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35716482)

I've recently rediscovered the joy of wandering a library with physical books, due to a new library in my community. And it's a pleasure that electronic distribution can't match. Yes, I use an ereader, and it's convenient, but wandering the shelves, seeing what your eye lights on, physically picking up a book and flipping it open... it's just a wonderful experience that communities should hesitate to throw away. Particularly since libraries can also function as social areas to help bring communities together... something you certainly can't say about ereaders.

Re:starting no doubt with 'rainbows end'... (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 3 years ago | (#35716278)

And Reading Rainbow. Oh wait, it ended a while ago. :(

Re:starting no doubt with 'rainbows end'... (2)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 3 years ago | (#35716476)

And Reading Rainbow. Oh wait, it ended a while ago. :(

Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficial. – Justice Louis Brandeis
The first book I would recommend is "1984" and the second "Fahrenheit 451". when the power goes out, then what?

Should Read Like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35715124)

Misleading title should be "California City Library to do Fahrenheit 451"

Derp? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715130)

"We'll ensure that everything which is not important in a library is preserved!"

Keep them stupid (2)

ubergeek65536 (862868) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715158)

Isn't removing sources of learning the best way to win votes? That way the public will have no idea they are being brainwashed.

Re:Keep them stupid (0)

ExploHD (888637) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715264)

Except Newport Beach, CA is a VERY rich town (Tesla dealership on the main highway) with most of the people there are already well educated and politically connected. Hopefully it wakes the extreme-right republicans of Orange County how their continuous tax cuts for the rich will have a severe negative effect on their community.

Re:Keep them stupid (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35715350)

just the sort of "educated" idiots who need access to a book.
most of these people probably have law and business degrees so no book can undo that level of brain damage.

Re:Keep them stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35715402)

It's worse than those degrees, they have the OC Register [ocregister.com] that does more damage; five minutes of reading and your IQ drops by 10.

Re:Keep them stupid (2)

Imrik (148191) | more than 3 years ago | (#35716130)

To be fair, people who are educated and relatively wealthy don't really need a library to get access to any books they may want. The problem is that while the town in general may be wealthy I doubt everyone there is.

Re:Keep them stupid (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35715384)

. Hopefully it wakes the extreme-right republicans of Orange County how their continuous tax cuts for the rich will have a severe negative effect on their community.

Republicans having a problem with cutting money to a program.

I don't see it.

"Books aren't the Government's responsibility!" or "Libraries are not in the Constitution!"

I don't think any Republican will have any problem with cutting budgets for libraries.

Very well to do people? They have Kindles in every room and download the books they want to read. Go to the library?!? That's for poor people!

Re:Keep them stupid (1)

ExploHD (888637) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715434)

Chris Griffin: "Dad, what's a library?"
Peter Griffin: "It's a place where homeless people shave and go BM"

Re:Keep them stupid (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715726)

Oddly, the rich in California (if by that you mean people with high incomes) likely pay the highest income tax rates in America, and yet it's here that the government is collapsing due to financial problems. Is it at least mathematically possible that the problem could actually be too much spending on stuff other than libraries, schools, and roads? In reality, I expect you'll find pension payments dominate spending and continue to grow until the federal government creates a way for the state to declare bankruptcy.

If England or Italy is any sign, the riots will be bad here when public employee salaries and benefits/pensions get cut during the bankruptcy. One can only hope the fires don't spread to neighboring states.

Re:Keep them stupid (1)

blincoln (592401) | more than 3 years ago | (#35716086)

"Oddly, the rich in California (if by that you mean people with high incomes) likely pay the highest income tax rates in America, and yet it's here that the government is collapsing due to financial problems."

Even assuming that's true, how much of those taxes *do they actually pay*? Hollywood in particular is known for its essentially fraudulent accounting that turns every business venture into a loss on paper. It doesn't contribute to the state coffers if they manage to deduct their way down to a full (or nearly full) tax refund, even though - again, on paper it looks like they're paying high taxes.

Re:Keep them stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35715966)

If you read the LA Times article that was cited, the cuts to library and literacy-related programs in the budget proposal from governor Jerry Brown. Hardly an extreme-right wing Republican from Orange County, last I checked. However, I realize it's much easier to blame Republicans and the rich than it is to read the articles and see where the cuts come from. The library cuts in Governor Brown's extreme-right agenda have been public knowledge since mid-January.

Re:Keep them stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35715706)

Kill the fucking cretins! Shoot them in the Facebook! Stab them in the twitterthroat! BURN THEM ON MYSPACE DIE BITCHES DIE!

Re:Keep them stupid (1)

sizzzzlerz (714878) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715756)

It certainly worked with the teabaggers. Dumb as fucking stumps.

Re:Keep them stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35716118)

Just like the people who can't read the fucking article.

Re:Keep them stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35716302)

...and calling someone a name and calling them dumb is a sure sign of higher intelligence.

Obvious Scifi nerd question (1)

fredmosby (545378) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715166)

If there are no books on paper how will we get informaion after the Zombie Apocalypse?

Re:Obvious Scifi nerd question (1)

hldn (1085833) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715864)

see: book of eli

Re:Obvious Scifi nerd question (1)

Rhinobird (151521) | more than 3 years ago | (#35716232)

see: book of eli

Dude, that's funny right there.

digital lending - it make sense! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35715174)

iPad and Kindle compatible digital lending is actually not a bad idea. I'd love to be able to go to the library, digitally "check out" half a dozen books into my Kindle, and leave without having to physically carry the whole stack around. Further, they could expire without having to physically go back to the library to return them. If the reading of them requires a DRM handshake with a central server, then in (say) 4 weeks the server could expire them from my device if I haven't done it by hand already. I don't have to do anything to return the books!

These kinds of things sometimes take a generational shift. Sure, a lot of people who grew up with paper books will bitch and moan, but those people tend to die off eventually and are replaced with a generation who grew up with Netflix streaming. This isn't much different than a netflix stream if you think about it. It's just that instead of watching immediately, you get a few weeks to read. Just like Netflix has killed the physical DVD rental services like Blockbuster, digital book lending will kill the old fashioned kind.

There are other advantages too. Libraries don't have to be huge any more. Eventually, they could just exist online! You go to myunivlib.org to check out a book for a few weeks. Yeah, I'm sure there are disadvantages too, but the advantages will FAR outweigh them. This idea is probably inevitable, even if it'll happen slowly over a decade or two.

Tablet computing is the way of the future for most common tasks like this.

Re:digital lending - it make sense! (3, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715346)

Except right now, libraries present little to zero cost for the user. A person can(in many cases) walk or ride public transportation to a library, where at no charge they can get a library card and have access to the books. In your future, a person will need to have access to a computer or a tablet/similar device. Unless these devices(and the various services that go with them such as internet, WIFI, 3G, whatever) get so cheap as to be virtually free, then you are in effect going to be preventing a rather large proportion of the population from accessing these books. A proportion of the population that, arguably, would need this access the most. So, unless you want to help pay for the government to give out tablets/computers to everyone on welfare, libraries going all digital won't be happening any time soon.

Re:digital lending - it make sense! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35715442)

In the future, pad computers will be ubiquitous like normal PCs are now. Even poor people who want a PC can get one - older machines are still quite useful now (things 10 years old still work fine for web/email) and there are organizations that will recycle old ones and give them to people who can't afford new.

Pad computers are just now starting up in a big way triggered by the success o the iPad. In 20 years, they will be as common as carrying a credit card is today. (OK, a bunch of slashdot people will now say "But I don't have a credit card!" - but point is almost everyone does).

And as an aside, why the hell was my post you replied to modded down to -1?

Re:digital lending - it make sense! (4, Insightful)

Dr Herbert West (1357769) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715620)

I see your definition of "poor" includes possession of shelter (so the rain doesn't get on your 400 dollar device) wired to the electric grid (to power said device). And credit cards.

After all, when I want to give a handout to a beggar on the street I prefer to use a credit card swiper, or direct deposit my spare change into their tin cup.

I don't think "poor" means what you think it means.

Re:digital lending - it make sense! (1)

Imrik (148191) | more than 3 years ago | (#35716144)

Obviously in his future we follow the socialist ways of Star Trek and the like ensuring shelter and computer access for even the poorest citizens.

Re:digital lending - it make sense! (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35716324)

Unless you're somewhere different from everybody else, we're not in the future yet. MOST books don't have an electronic equivalent. A library is not just for stocking best sellers. Until this changes (a bit further in the future), libraries will have to contend with the paper stuff.

Re:digital lending - it make sense! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35716418)

Next time, call someone a teabagger and fucking dumb. It gets you a higher score, and takes a lot less thought.

We should privatize our public libraries (0)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715186)

Libraries are nothing but money sinks that private industry has proven they can run at a profit. Look at Borders and Barnes and Noble! We should sell our public libraries to private industry and let the Free Market determine what patrons read.

Re:We should privatize our public libraries (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35715282)

Do you honestly believe that big business will stand up to the FBI and nutjob book-banners the way real librarians do?

I know you're joking, but... (1)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715318)

Circa 2000, you may have had a point. Big bookstores like Barnes & Noble and Borders were popping up all over, and generally had lots of comfortable seating. As a rather fast reader, I often spent a free afternoon or evening reading a book cover to cover in those stores back then. Guess too many people did just that. Now, you can hardly find a chair in most big box bookstores and they are closing up many locations anyway. I guess the free market can't support these big bookstores, which is too bad in a way.

Re:We should privatize our public libraries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35715376)

Really? Please direct me to some big box book store where I can check out a book or a music CD for two weeks for free.

Re:We should privatize our public libraries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35715380)

That's a great way to get libraries full of "stuff that sells," and nothing else. Shelves full of Harry Potter and Twilight novels. Man, what a great world that would be. We might as well burn the books about history.

One step closer to Stallman's prediction (4, Insightful)

ron_ivi (607351) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715198)

Late last century Stallman predicted as much:
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html [gnu.org]

> ... there was a time when anyone could go to the library and read journal articles, and even books, without having to pay....

At what date was that story posted again? (1)

OneAhead (1495535) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715216)

Re:At what date was that story posted again? (1)

OneAhead (1495535) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715320)

Now that I had a closer look at it, this is actually a bit of an insidious April's fool - based on true facts, only greatly exaggerated (and somewhat twisted). I'm not even sure it's not an inadvertent slip-up in typical "sloppy journalism" style. In which case I would recommend the journalists involved to try to save their face by pretending it was an April's fool.

Re:At what date was that story posted again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35716168)

Slashdot could have had similar somewhat believable articles with some humor and a point, but instead they had news-free-make-up-your-own-story day. Next year slashdot will remove the article text and replace it with a shared javascript coloring book pictorial new representation.

Re:At what date was that story posted again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35715516)

I know its a joke, but not a really, really, really bad joke.

In my area, parts of this "fake" plan has already become a reality. You have to special order/request most of the reference section and self-check out stalls are near the returns/check out area. Half of the second floor and third floors used for computer space only.)

Library closing under another name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35715220)

It seems to me this is really a story about closing one or more library branches, but retaining the space as a community center that can still access the inter-library loan system. By using the headline "..get rid of books" it just makes the story more sensational.

With PDF and EPubs, it makes sense (1)

greymond (539980) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715226)

I don't really see why libraries are holding onto actual books these days anyway. Seems like the best thing to do would be get rid of the paper, make more room for public readings and other events that happen at libraries and then have the entire book library all digital in PDF and ePub formats for each book. That way you could read whatever you want on whatever device you have.

Re:With PDF and EPubs, it makes sense (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35715298)

Great idea. And if you're too poor to own a hundred-dollar book electronic book reader, well then fuck you. You don't really belong to our democracy anyhow.

Re:With PDF and EPubs, it makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35715302)

Because everyone has an ebook reader, right? Hell, if they don't have one they obviously don't deserve to have access to a library anyway. Are they hobos or something?!

Re:With PDF and EPubs, it makes sense (1)

lee1026 (876806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715344)

libraries are not cheap. It is probably cheaper to lend them the e reader then to maintain the stacks of books.

Re:With PDF and EPubs, it makes sense (1)

johnsnails (1715452) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715430)

I thought the posts above were onto something until i read your post! I think you are spot on, this is not about restricting reading to wealthier citizens, its about a paradigm shift in the way we read, a way that is superior to the current model in almost every way!

Re:With PDF and EPubs, it makes sense (1)

ffreeloader (1105115) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715596)

Yeah, it's stupid to store objects that will last 20 to 50 years, even when being lent out to the general public, and replace them with objects that have about 1/10 the lifespan and cost twice as much. You must be a genius at figuring out how to cut spending.

Re:With PDF and EPubs, it makes sense (1)

lee1026 (876806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715660)

Books can last that long. They usually don't. The average library throws out a large number of books every day. Most of the books thrown out are usually not very old. Also, storing and organizing the books are not cheap, neither is shipping them from branch to branch.

Re:With PDF and EPubs, it makes sense (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715738)

Yeah, it's stupid to store objects that will last 20 to 50 years, even when being lent out to the general public, and replace them with objects that have about 1/10 the lifespan and cost twice as much. You must be a genius at figuring out how to cut spending

Someone has a bright future in government, that's for sure!

Re:With PDF and EPubs, it makes sense (1)

basotl (808388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715914)

The average library book lasts about 8 years. I'm not trying to argue with your point of considering cost effectiveness... I'm just correcting a detail. Books that last in the 20 to 50 year range are not average but they do exist.

Re:With PDF and EPubs, it makes sense (1)

Tacticus.v1 (1102137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715338)

Real books don't die after 36 loans

Re:With PDF and EPubs, it makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35715846)

"Real books don't die after 36 loans"...or the electricity goes out and your battery dies or after the publisher decides to reach into your e-reader and yank out whatever book they see fit.

Re:With PDF and EPubs, it makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35716298)

Correction: Real Books don't die after 26 loans.

And libraries with Real Books often have more than one copy of a book in the system to lend out at any one time. Which can be returned and re-lent before the lending period expires.

Re:With PDF and EPubs, it makes sense (2)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715352)

Maybe because paper books aren't surrounded by the draconion rights restrictions that either outright prevent sharing and lending, or at best severely limit the ability to share/lend that we see with electronic publications.

Re:With PDF and EPubs, it makes sense (1)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 3 years ago | (#35716252)

Libraries aren't just repositories for stacks of John Grisham novels that were printed into the millions. There are these things called private collections. Go to largest public library in your area and dig around in their basement. If you are into history, especially local history, there are things there that will blow your mind. Diaries, letters, old periodicals from long ago wars, all of that and much more, without watermarks or DRM; the original thing, on the original print. This is what gets lost and very literally thrown into a dumpster when we close libraries or shrink them down to make space for a few rows of beige boxes and they are things that Amazon isn't all that interested in monetizing.

inf storage risky during holycost final .5b push (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35715276)

the native americans knew that. probably why they still know what happened (teepeeleaks etchings) to them & others, even if they still cannot comprehend (no words) the inhuman motives & processes. pass it on.

How will we view Google Books in 20 years? (1)

ajs (35943) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715280)

I think this decision was an unfortunate one. I do think the terms of the settlement should have been challenged, but striking it entirely puts Google Books in jeopardy. Lest anyone forget, what Google has managed to do is to produce a reasonably accurate electronic library of millions of books, many of which do not exist in any other digital collection, even that of the publishers (and some publishers no longer exist). This is a vastly valuable asset. This ruling basically sends us back to the drawing board on how and when they can give the world access to it, if at all.

In 20 years, I suspect we'll look back at the state of digital publishing and wonder, "why did the library die?" Well, when we ask that question, this decision will be the answer. For lack of perfect, we selected nothing.

Oh, and this story is misleading. The summary says, "efforts are underway elsewhere to create a massive, public digital library, spurred in part by the recent ruling against Google Books." That's not true. This article is about an effort to study what form such a library should take and how it might be done. There's currently no effort I know of that's moving forward in any way other than Google Books.

Re:How will we view Google Books in 20 years? (3)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715632)

I'd rather have a huge pirated collection of scanned books distributed underground for free to anyone than an approved digitized collection of books offered to the public only by corporations.

Maybe I'm funny that way, but when it comes to preserving the knowledge of mankind for future generations, I don't believe petty laws and economic gamesmanship should matter. Let people "pirate" away, and 500 years from now, the people who live *then* can decide if they approve of what our generation did or not.

Re:How will we view Google Books in 20 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35716286)

This idea will only be acceptable if there is some way to track and monitor what everyone is reading. Either the content it self needs to be controlled and manipulated, or who is using the content must be known. Anything else is a threat to our democracy.

Expensive Way to Reduce a Budget (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715292)

So they're planning to save money by doing a (probably expensive) renovation and, I suppose, pay for it by selling their existing books? They must have an amazing collection of rare manuscripts for that to make sense. Or, more likely, some scumbags are using the reduced budget as an excuse to spend more money.

Re:Expensive Way to Reduce a Budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35715674)

So they're planning to save money by doing a (probably expensive) renovation and, I suppose, pay for it by selling their existing books? They must have an amazing collection of rare manuscripts for that to make sense. Or, more likely, some scumbags are using the reduced budget as an excuse to spend more money.

Believe it or not, a capital investment in the right things can be a money saver.

Especially when you consider that a given library can wear out just from age, or be unsuited for current needs.

Too much penny pinching can cost money.

Important bits that are not in the summary (3, Insightful)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715356)

From TFA:
the city's Balboa branch - which "accounts for about six percent of the 1.3 million visitors that utilize Newport Beach Public Libraries each year" - is underutilized and "could be changed to better fit the community's needs."

"patrons could 'order' books from the large Central Library (located about four miles away)"

This isn't about closing the only library in town. This is about cutting the cost of maintaining a branch that a small percentage of people use by not buying books for that branch.

As much as I hate the idea of libraries losing their funding, I can't honestly say I would be against this if I lived there. It's about 3 miles from my house to the nearest public library and it isn't a difficult trip. It's what most people I know would consider to be within walking distance.

Re:Important bits that are not in the summary (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35715552)

From TFA:
the city's Balboa branch - which "accounts for about six percent of the 1.3 million visitors that utilize Newport Beach Public Libraries each year" - is underutilized and "could be changed to better fit the community's needs."

"patrons could 'order' books from the large Central Library (located about four miles away)"

This isn't about closing the only library in town. This is about cutting the cost of maintaining a branch that a small percentage of people use by not buying books for that branch.

As much as I hate the idea of libraries losing their funding, I can't honestly say I would be against this if I lived there. It's about 3 miles from my house to the nearest public library and it isn't a difficult trip. It's what most people I know would consider to be within walking distance.

Just to add a little context, Newport Beach is home to some of the most expensive real estate in the country, and Balboa is the most expensive within Newport Beach. It's a tiny, man-made island, and it's not a hardship for residents to utilize other branches of the library. The residents are likely displeased they can't drive their $5,000 golf carts to the library if they want a paper book; they'll have to take the Mercedes instead.

Re:Important bits that are not in the summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35715684)

The Newport Beach Public Library currently has three branches with collections, and a fourth location (community center) with library services (holds, returns, librarians) but no collection. As I understand it, they are converting one of the smaller branches, which is only 6 miles from the main branch, into another community center.

Seems like a perfectly reasonable move. When the main branch (the one I use) loses its stacks, then everyone can start prophesying doom.

Give in to our robot overlords! (1)

jcmb (936098) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715422)

CSULB and many colleges currently use a robotic system to automate book retrieval since most library space is used for studying and group meet-ups: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ae-sBImAh4 [youtube.com] Sounds like Newport is on the right track.

will they keep the DVD movies and VHS tapes? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715462)

will they keep the DVD movies and VHS tapes?

Libraries are about Librairans (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715464)

The public face of a library, the face that gives it value to the average taxpayer, is the lending of videos, music, and books. OTOH, the mision of a library is education and highly trained librarians is what makes that happen. The librarian acquires resources, answers questions, and points patrons to where they can get information. For instance, I know many a sucessful business person who main resource is the local library. They got an effective BBA for nothing other than time spent reading in the library.

So getting rid of books will cause a PR problem, but as long as the resources are available the actual mission wil not be jeopardized. Of course a wholesale overnight removal of books will not indicated, but we must realize that the acquisition, storage, circulation, and destruction of books is hugely expensive. There are many advantages to a digital distribution scheme. Books can be automactically checked back in, and checked out, to patrons. No more waiting for a book to be returned, no more having to deal with library fines. A replacement charge for a book can easily be $50. No such charge for e-books. They are deleted automatically when the lending period ends, no physical return. Many people have e-readers, probably way over 1 in 10 americans have one. If libraries move in, a cheap e-paper reader can be sold by the library for $50.

At first I would think the very expensive technical books and subject specific books would be digital only, as well as journals. Kids books, popular magazines, and the like would stay in the stacks. Even this would save huge amounts of money in acquisition and circulation. This is something that has to happen, and most will embrace it in the end.

Re:Fines, Hugely Expensive, Etc (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715852)

There's got to be a way by hybridizing the two entities plus Print On Demand. Mashing up several posts, don't ship books anywhere (except Ex Libris sales), print a new one & count it as an aquisition. Don't wait for a book to be returned.Who cares? Send the guy a bill for purchase (Redbox model). It's a "guaranteed sale" because the person went to the trouble to "check it out". If he wakes up and doesn't want to purchase it, there's your return. Replacement charge = $5 for the in stock copy - but only when it's actually demanded.

And definitely ebay the lights out of everything - there's got to be people in the country who want X tome, so sell it. What is this "throw out" junk?

Re:Fines, Hugely Expensive, Etc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35716238)

Xtome? [xtome.com]

This is no different.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35715554)

than when they got rid of the cuniform because every body was into scrolls. Then they got rid of the scrolls cause all the kids were reading books.. And the same people just keep bitchin about change.

Don't be stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35715592)

The majority of our books are now produced in China. Cut them out, along with the publishers. In fact, I am going to guess that the majority of those carping, are those with a stake in this game.

The conveniences you demanded are now mandatory (1)

Platinum Dragon (34829) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715662)

I'm sure this will seem like a great idea... until the power goes out. I would think that the residents of a state subjected to power outages for profit not too long ago might be a bit more careful about increasing their reliance upon electric current for basic information accessibility.

If we don't replace fossil fuel generation with something more sustainable before peak extraction hits, we are all going to be knocked back to the Paper Age pretty fast. Say what you will about dead trees - they don't require current to operate.

wouldn't this just cost more? (1)

applematt84 (1135009) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715680)

the constant cost of the software, storage, security and maintenance would most likely cost more than to just keep a library open. not to mention lost jobs because librarians will be downsized and it's just no fun to read from an electronic screen. i'm sorry, but electronic books are good on the go however, nothing compares to holding and reading a REAL book. my $0.02.

ibrary bureaucrats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35715686)

At what point is someone going to suggest that trimming a few bureaucrats out of the library's budget as a good way to go about saving money? They always cut services first. Cut the desk jobs that aren't directly involved with an actual library. There have to be some. It's a government run thing. There's always bureaucracy that can be cut. I'm not talking about actual librarians, I'm talking about the people who never even see the stacks.

Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35715700)

Why is it I always see libraries and schools under funded? Chop the arm of the law enforcement agencies off. Those guys do not need the pensions. Oh wait I forgot, it's political suicide to be eliminate the poor old police officers.

Newport != poor (4, Interesting)

wickerprints (1094741) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715712)

I'm sorry, but anyone who lives in LA knows that Newport Beach is not exactly "poor" or "cash-strapped" by any stretch of the imagination. It's a VERY affluent city, although being in the traditionally Republican stronghold of Orange County, maybe the taxpayers aren't willing to look under their suede leather sofa cushions to fund basic public services. This smells more like a scheme to do something trendy, rather than some sincere attempt to reduce spending.

Re:Newport != poor (1)

d0g_solitude (1994870) | more than 3 years ago | (#35716188)

I'm not sure what the Orange County Republicans have to do with the Democratic governor's proposed cuts to the state library funding...

world+dog intentions; get rid of crooks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35715746)

royals kings minions weapons peddlers eugenatics real sex religious training fake math history=environmental debauchery adrians media talknicians hate fear mongers profits of doom fatal holycosts depopulationing fear generating deception etc...

shipping books (1)

memnock (466995) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715800)

back and forth. What's that gonna cost in gas? I realize libraries already move books around for interlibrary requests, but this would probably increase the volume of books moved, which would lead to more fuel consumed. Granted it might not change much, I don't know.

Re:shipping books (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35716410)

6 miles? If Gas usage is an issue over that distance, they can buy a push cart and give somebody some exercise.

Fahrenheit 451 (1)

Kittenman (971447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715974)

(Oblig). Get rid of the books. They just make people depressed. And paintings. And music. And Windows (the ones you open).

Old news (1)

d0g_solitude (1994870) | more than 3 years ago | (#35716076)

The state library cuts were publicized mid-January. They were part of the proposed budget by Gov Jerry Brown. Hardly an OC republican.

Someone should tell them (1)

chebucto (992517) | more than 3 years ago | (#35716122)

There's always money in the banana stand ;)

From a local (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35716354)

I live in Balboa. In my opinion this is all part of a master plan the city has to scrape money together to pay for their new city hall. The city has grown via annexation and the number of city employees has exploded. Even in this time of bankrupt cities, states and governments our city is "full speed ahead" with the new building. In their quest for monies they have raised parking meter fees (25 cents for 10 minutes) and ratcheted up enforcement of parking, busting drivers for talking on their cell phone and speeding. They just recently tore down the old Balboa Market and put in a parking lot. Cue Carley Simon.

The Balboa Library is the original library for all of Newport Beach. It's a small, quiet, funky old building where my parents took me as a child and now I take my kids. The staff was all locals and knew all their customers - especially the local kids. They knew my kids and what they liked to read. My kids loved going to the library. A few years ago the city build a new central library in Corona del Mar that is a thing of beauty. To fill the shelves they raided the Balboa Branch. Then they got our head librarian to retire early. Somewhere along the line they cut back the open hours. Then the ever changing staff from the central library rotated in. The slow creep of taking away resources, eliminating quality staff and having the facility closed more coupled with the fact its the middle of the school year and we don't have many tourists drive the numbers are down.

The cost of keeping the building is quite small. The property and building have been paid for decades ago and the staff is minimal. My guess is the end game is to pave more paradise or sell it to one of their cronies.

CAFR's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35716436)

People should look into their state and local governments CAFR reports, easily available online, before making any claims about those government being out of money. Of the 380,000 +/- corporate governments in the U.S., not one that I have looked into is anywhere near broke. On the contrary, most have more available liquid assets than they know what to do with.

How much of a cut are they really facing? (1)

kevinatilusa (620125) | more than 3 years ago | (#35716448)

In Newport Beach, the library receives roughly $318,000 in state funding (source http://articles.dailypilot.com/2011-01-14/news/tn-dpt-0115-library-20110114_1_library-budget-newport-library-library-funding [dailypilot.com] ). I can't open the Newport Beach budget documents at the moment, but recently the city referred referred to $132,500 cut in library funding as a "2% reduction" in the library's budget (source http://www.newportbeachca.gov/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=4738 [newportbeachca.gov] ).

So by my count the library's facing less than a 5% cut in its budget if every last cent of state funding is cut. And yet they're talking about eliminating books. This smells more like passing the blame to the state and/or trying to get publicity/sympathy rather than an actual budget crisis due to reduction in state funds.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>