I went into the library the other day to look for a couple DVDs to watch. It was strange to walk in there. There were only two cars in the parking lot -- the librarians. There were no patrons, customers.
Normally I struggle to find a DVD worth watching, despite them having hundreds to choose from. But this time I gave up after 5 minutes. As I walked out of the library I realized something quite important: that I was unlikely to ever walk into a public library again.
This was a sad thought. Why so? After all, when was the last time I walked into a brick-and-mortar travel agency, video store, gym, bookstore, aquatic center, bank, bowling alley, or movie theater? But there are no nostalgic connections to this last list of places.
With public libraries there are memories.
- Helping my (librarian) mother at a small town library, and being so pleased with making a perfect impress of the due date on the label of the book.
- Being pleased with an unusually good library -- or even a Carnegie library -- in small cities, during my early years as a traveler. Typically there was nothing else about the town that interested me. And I didn't know anybody in town.
- Falling in love with a small town in Arizona because it had such a good city library that still had an old-fashioned wooden card catalog, and allowed dogs into the library!
- The Jimmy Buffett song about "Love in the Library."
- Enjoying a vacation from my usual political views by acknowledging the public library to be a cost-effective success story run by the government sector.
But now I realize that heavy consumers of media are too spoiled by all the selection of online stores to appreciate the humble offerings of the public libraries. Heavy media consumption is destined to be a larger part of life, with the Great Reset. And you don't have to wear a damn mask when you shop online.
Yes indeed, the business model of the public library is obsolete.