Libraries equalize access to media, enabling those with varying incomes to read books, view art, hear music, watch movies and more. Leaving those who thirst for knowledge or culture to pay Amazon obviates the basic purpose of library programs.
Recent numbers show ebook sales flat to down, print sales up, with Amazon opening retail stores that sell real books, which almost 150 million Americans report shopping for last year. Only 26% of America has even tried an eBook.
In the younger age groups, ebooks trail more substantially. Consider this: Many read a bible, and a diverse group of them. Most want a bible to hold in their hand.
These results are not unique. Vinyl record sales are up. Cassette production and sales, too.
Fundamentally, though, it bears repeating what librarians and Eleanor Roosevelt have long made clear: It's about equalizing access.
For kids, type is at first unfriendly, big colorful books an introduction to a life of reading. We should make books available in a central place for them -- and no surprise we do, along with almost every community worldwide.
Speaking of libraries, a reminder to all of a great community resource on our doorstep. The Library of Congress has in Culpeper an extraordinary theater that regularly displays first-rate movies (no charge):
Culture draws companies, too. Amazon seeks an HQ city with great libraries and museums, reasoning they are evidence of the workforce they seek. Not looking for an Amazon, but they've got the right idea.