Re: Fundamental reform of (C) (Fwd)

From: Buford Terrell <terrell[_at_]gateway.stcl.edu>
Date: Mon, 30 Sep 1996 10:45:46 -0500

John Lederer <johnl[_at_]ibm.net> wrote:
>
> On 09/25/96, Bernard Katz <bkatz[_at_]uoguelph.ca> said:
>>
>> Well, for one thing, everyone does not have a computer let alone can
>> afford the $6 month or whatever for net access. But a great many more
>> folks can read and use a library. And this still goes for students as
>> well as non-students. The Net is a *priviledged* means of communication
>> and access to information at this point in time.
>
> Well there certainly is truth in what you say-- but it isn't quite as
> stark a contrast as you suggest.
>
> I am blessed with 6 libraries easily available to me:
>
> The Oregon Public Library -- whose budget is about 150,000 per year and
> which serves perhaps 3000 people in the greater metropolitan Oregon
> area.<g>
>
> The Oregon Public School Libraries (frankly not very good)
>
> The UW libraries
>
> The State Law Library
>
> The Madison Library
>
> The Wisconsin State Historical Library
>
> I have no idea what the budgets of the last 5 are or what they would be
> on a per capita basis. Nonetheless I suspect that cumulatively they might
> approach the cost of an internet connection for the taxpayer.
>
> Most of the libraries' capital is long sunk, but split up on a per capita
> basis at present value perhaps they might approach the cost of a cheap
> computer (maybe one of Scott McNeally's "network computers") per family
> (of course large stone buildings don't become obsolete in 3 years <g>).
>
> This is not a suggestion that we replace libraries with computers and
> internet connections. I value books much too highly for that.
>
> But we ought not assume that the internet is automatically for the
> privileged and the library for the poor. In part that is the result of a
> governmental decison about the model to use to pay for them.
>
> Moreover,I suspect that if we surveyed library patrons we might well find
> that though open to all, libraries principally serve the well educated.
> Interestingly when I thought about that, I realize that I use the
> libraries less than I used to, though I probably am reading more. I think
> the explanation is that I read more current topical books and the library
> is a poor source for current materials simply because they are much in
> demand when released.
>
> Perhaps if Andrew Carnegie were alive today he might be giving grants to
> communities for Internet connections <g>.

Actually, many libraries, including the public library here in Houston, now provide some free Internet access to patrons. Access to information in all forms is what libraries do, you know.

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Buford C. Terrell                       1303 San Jacinto Street
Professor of Law                              Houston, TX 77002
South Texas College of Law                voice   (713)646-1857
terrell[_at_]stcl.edu                            fax   (713)646-1766

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Received on Mon Sep 30 1996 - 16:26:46 GMT

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