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Has the internet killed the library?

In answer to the Title question, --- YES. But that's not a bad thing. Libraries have been dying for years and there are now so many alternatives to Libraries that the enormous expense of keeping them open for a dwindling number of users is neither cost effective or socially justified. Most people I know have a Kindle or other type of digital reading medium for which both fiction and non-fiction can be downloaded for very little money.. . Most retail outlets sell books at very reasonably low prices.
I do not miss Libraries and nowadays the thought of borrowing a grubby book from a Library is a definite No No.
 

Mowl

Member
In answer to the Title question, --- YES. But that's not a bad thing. Libraries have been dying for years and there are now so many alternatives to Libraries that the enormous expense of keeping them open for a dwindling number of users is neither cost effective or socially justified. Most people I know have a Kindle or other type of digital reading medium for which both fiction and non-fiction can be downloaded for very little money.. . Most retail outlets sell books at very reasonably low prices.
I do not miss Libraries and nowadays the thought of borrowing a grubby book from a Library is a definite No No.

The main difference between online material and books from library is in the cost alright. Taking a book from the library and having to return it on a specific date encourages one to read and read by schedule. There was always a certain urgency to completing a book on time for me. If not, the penalty was small in terms of your few shillings but you still got to read the material for free: that was a crucial factor for kids like me growing up in Dublin 10.

Up here, libraries stock just about everything you can think of. Books, original pieces of art, huge amounts music, most instruments, basic working laptops, other devices for precision work (engraving tools, electric drills, jig-saw cutters, table saws, hammers, axes) carpets, kid's materials, kid's areas for recreation and play, video, DVD, BlueRay, and on and on it goes - and that's just the regular libraries. Go academic and the choices are even wider in terms of study materials, theses, published works, etc.

We all have free internet access in Finland, it comes with the apartment: but still the libraries prosper and go from strength to strength. Even though you can pay for downloads on your Kindle (I've never used one) you can get the same for free and carry your hard copy for leisure reading on the bus, train, or plane.

They're also social hubs in that you can order a room for a lecture, meeting, reading/writing group, social or political movements can assemble, even the Soldiers Of Odin can get a room for their sad bullshit racist leanings.

In this modern paradigm, I find the notion of handling a book from a public library as being 'dirty' or infectious is a sign of the times we live in more so than a reflection on the hygiene of hard copy. As my lovely neighbour said when baby dropped her soother in the hallway and I went to wash it clean for her, 'no, a little bacteria is good for baby' and she put it back in the little angel's mouth.

Focusing on the bacterial angle is a very Howard Hughes approach to life: keep that shit up for too long and you'll turn into a Michael Jackson-type anti-bacterial agent living in a bubble and having someone taste your food before you do to make sure it isn't poisoned.

Personally, I love the smell of old and well thumbed books.

I find it reassuring and familial: that what I'm learning from it now has already been learned by someone else earlier.

That's a nice human feeling.

In the 80's a library van(large truck) used to go around every two weeks :)
In Ballyfermot, we had both a mobile library and a mobile veterinary clinic which charged very little for various animal/pet services. I used to take my Jack Russell terrier Mutt over for his jabs and general care. He'd go mental when he saw the vet's truck, and try to run off back home. Little Mutt.

Kind of like this one but bigger .....this is a 90's UK one

Looks very seventies to me.

But still - books on wheels? Lovely idea for the rural types as well as the infirm.

The kids buy their ice creams from trucks that visit the neighbourhoods, so why not have the elders reading materials available from trucks too? Most elderly types can't even switch on a computer, never mind use it for reading. We set our Mam up with a laptop in her kitchen with Skype instantly available at the flick of the mouse. She still couldn't get her head around it so she'd be on the phone while I'm on Skype trying to get her to pick it up. I pick up my mobile phone:

'Mowl - this feckin' compooter is all black on the screen - is it broke again...?'

'No, Mam - just hit the space bar.'

'The what now? A space bar? Is from space? What flavour bar is it?'

'Ahh, Mammy....'
 
This I've learned the hard way: I've a brother over in Penn State who contracted a rare disease which knocked him flat out and into a coma from which it took three weeks to come out of. And even then he wasn't even nearly ready to begin his recovery. He had to convalesce for a few weeks after waking from a coma and then after another few weeks start learning to walk again.

As a teenager, he played for the Republic Of Ireland junior teams for around four years.

You can imagine the impact this has had on his life: like Samson after Delilah had shorn off his locks, he had to go at the pillars with everything he had. He's still not back to peak performance though, and has a long way to go to get back to the level of physicality required to work as a professional soccer coach. How it's going to hit him financially is another bugbear.



I'm aware that marriages can aid access to the best of healthcare at a very low rate - or at least lower than a single emigrant would have to pay had they no insurance. But arranged marriages can also strip you bare of everything you have, so it's very much a rock and a hard place.



Agreed: we're taken for a ride by these shysters. I recall when my Father passed away and Mam and I had to go through all the paperwork regarding his insurance policy. After much effort we finally managed to broker a deal with them and when the cheque arrived it wasn't enough to pay for the handles on his coffin. I recall Mister Mooney calling in every Saturday morning with his little black book, taking the cash from Mam and marking it down in his little book and then signing hers off too. He was like a piece of furniture to us: we knew him well and he often stayed on and chatted with my parents while Dad was still alive.

He worked for The Royal Liver insurance company. He came every Saturday morning for a decade at least.

But for all the money paid out, we got fuck all back.

One thing I do know is that we were all on the same policy and that there's a reserve of money in each of my siblings N.ames still on their books. My youngest brother decided to call his in and he gave them some reference number and they struck him off the books and sent him a cheque for less than two hundred sterling. But then he was only insured up to the point of my Father's passing, so he got a tiny amount of what we're expected to collect for the older kids.

Personally, I don't have any insurance policy as I don't actually need one: everything I need is at my fingertips here, from medical to domestic, dental to education, and every other avenue possible. Maybe when I'm older I'll take out a policy, but for now - fuck it: the world's on her knees. An insurance policy looked at in that light is just another page tossed around in the wind like a discarded Covid19 mask.
Sorry about your brother. I hope he eventually gets back to 100%.

The stress of dealing with overwhelming medical debt can and often does interfere with the process of healing. Nobody should ever have to decide between needed medical care/medicines and paying rent or eating. Both very common here.

The greedy insurance companies are so intertwined with politics, it will be very difficult and take time to move to a N.ational program. I believe the change will happen, but don’t expect it in my lifetime.

I like your thinking on the matter and would probably do the same. No better finger in the eye of the government than depriving it of your hard earned money wherever possible.
 

Mowl

Member
Well, the good news over here is that only yesterday I received an e-mail from our kid in Penn State: he sent an attached photo of himself and his buddy sitting in an Irish bar having a Guinness with a smile as wide the Nile across his chops. I cried happy tears, I'm not ashamed to say. He's making progress slowly but steadily and is now walking with the aid of a standard walking stick: this is, according to his doctors, unheard of with this particular syndrome.

The normal course of GBS is contraction of the virus, loss of appetite and then a slow slide down into paralysis. Then a total coma - and this stage usually lasts for three to six months. Only in his case he came out of coma after three weeks and was talking again a week later. After coma the slow recovery continues: he was using a chair but fighting very hard so the doctors gave him a shot at standing up. He collapsed several times but kept trying.

Then he got back on his feet and sent me a video of himself standing up from his wheelchair and walking laps around a gymnasium: a big grin on this chops again. It seems he's charmed his medical team and they consider him a medical marvel due to the pace of his recovery. I couldn't be more proud than I am, he's wrecking the curve with his recovery much like he fought to make it to international standards with his footie. Our Mam is also thrilled by all of this: she lives alone in Dublin so the worry of our kid's health is very hard on her. My youngest brother shows her all the videos and messages his laptop and records her talking to him and encouraging him and the youngest sends them on to Penn State.

This has served our family positively in two major ways: one, we were all devastated when we heard the news from the States and it brought us all much closer together even though we're all scattered to the four corners. Between the Covid19 virus and his GBS, the fear our Mam was feeling took a toll on her too with her Alzheimer's Disease on top of her other ills at eighty years of age. Secondly, we're all far better clued in to each others present circumstances and moves are being made to ensure that each of us has everything we need through a reliance upon each other as a family in a way that we never did before.

These are strange days, yes - but they're also days of wonder.

For all of the negatives that presently exist, the few positives we see are all the more wonderful.

This last year has seen us all scattered from each other and keeping our distance for health reasons, but it's brought us together in several other ways as I'm sure it has done for every other family out there during these harsh times. There's a lot to be grateful for here too: we've been given time that we were never given before. Time to think, consider, make up your mind, change it again if it feels right, to look at our lives and our life's work and regulate ourselves in preparation of the coming days and years. We've all had to let thing go, to watch our dreams crashing on the rocks, but also to have a sense of proportion as to who we are and where we're going. Even in the worst of days, it still feels like I've been given a gift that none of my ancestors ever had: time to think.
 
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