North Carolina Libraries, Vol 62, No 1 (2004)

Point: The Future of the Book in the Public Library

Thomas L. Moore


There appear to be two different trends of thought with regard to books in the public library today. One trend says that books in paper will cease to exist; they will become museum pieces in a relatively short time, as electronic format materials will replace them. The other trend is that the traditional book will continue to exist as a viable, and the preferred, format for conveyance
of ideas and information. These opposing viewpoints are often represented as being mutually exclusive and at war with each other. In some instances the combat is real. One need only read one article about the controversy at the San Francisco Public Library (“Nicholson Baker is a Luddite”; “The leaders of the San Francisco public library are book burners”) to understand that not only are the two belief systems at odds, but also that they really don’t like each other and occasionally dip to “ad hominum” arguments to prove their points.

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North Carolina Libraries is the official publication of the North Carolina Library Association.