There’s a small town that had a smallish library. From memory, I’d say there were about 30-40 racks of books (by “rack” I mean a set of shelves, about 3 feet wide and 6 feet high). So the selection was limited, and after a few years of living here I had pretty much exhausted the books on topics of interest to me. Maybe once a month or so they’d get a new book of interest to me.
So I was excited when the decision was made to build a new larger library. It took a couple of years, and they recently opened a very nice new building. Probably 4x the size of the old one. Beautiful architecture. There is a large children’s area with tables and toys. They have a Maker room with 3D printers. They have laptops that you can borrow. There is a nice quiet room for studying. There are a variety of multipurpose rooms of various sizes for meetings and presentations I guess.
Did you notice what I didn’t mention? BOOKS. There are now about 8 racks of books. Yes, they now have maybe 20% of the number of books they had in the old smaller library. The book area looks like an afterthought. “Oh, we’ve got some extra space here, let’s throw in a few bookshelves.” I couldn’t believe it. I was sure I was missing some hidden area where all the books were kept. I almost felt close to tears as I was leaving the library.
Is this normal for modern libraries? They don’t consider providing books to the public to be among their most important services any more?