Library has plenty of nonfiction

  • Thursday, October 17, 2013 10:03am
  • News

In my opinion the airy comments in last week’s Point of View, advocating for additional city funding to purportedly increase the nonfiction book stock of the Homer Public Library, are absurd. This library currently has hundreds of new nonfiction books lining the “new” book section. Last winter there were hundreds more. And probably hundreds in previous years.  

And if that isn’t enough, for a nominal fee one may obtain almost any printed title through the inter-library loan program. And if that’s still not enough for you, you may check out the rich source of nonfiction and specialized books and materials available from the college library or the Pratt Museum.  

Still not satisfied? Then go on-line and do research, or, for a pittance, purchase your esoteric book from Amazon.  

In any case, in this modern fast-paced world, non-fiction reading — or even reading the classics of fiction — clearly takes a distant place to most users of this library.   From my observations I’d say fully one-half of the library’s clients are there primarily to access the computers and the internet, and I strongly suspect that many of those users are either engaged in playing games or checking their emails/Facebook/etc.  It escapes me how that translates into  becoming educated.  

Personally, I check out a lot of movies from the library simply because they are there and available.  Unfortunately, the content of many of them is not educational, but simply a waste of my time. So charging a movie fee would force me to be more discriminating and, presumably, save on my taxes which support the library, not to mention returning that function to the free market where it belongs.

Regarding Andrew Carnegie — 100 plus years ago he promoted libraries as a basis for knowledge leading to social advancement, not entertainment.

 In those days information access was extremely limited. Other than newspapers there was no other viable source of information for the edification of the general public: very few national magazines, no radio or television news or discussion programs, and — of course — no Internet.  

The future will be different yet. I recently saw this comment online from Herbert:  “Approaching a company such as Apple, which has vast educational and community outreach resources, would provide Homer a much richer return than filling lower shelves with outdated books and periodicals.”   

With the exception of the terrible acoustics, for a small town, Homer has a fine library, well-stocked with nonfiction. The staff is good: very civil, responsive, helpful and seemingly dedicated. And I certainly don’t question the charitable impulse of the many library volunteers. But, I do question where they are being led if this article is any indication.

Larry Slone

More in News

Clem Tillion of Halibut Cove poses for a photo on Jan. 9, 2020, in Homer, Alaska. The veteran Alaska legislator was passing through Homer while waiting to take the M/V Tustumena ferry to Kodiak. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Clem Tillion, PFD founder and former legislator, dies at 96

Tillion died Wedneday, Oct. 13, at Halibut Cove home.

Thunder Mountain High School on April 18.  Earlier this fall, vandalism including stolen soap dispensers and toilets clogged with foreign objects such as paper towel rolls were a problem at schools nationwide and in Juneau. But, principals say the local situation is improving. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
After brief surge, vandalism subsiding at local high schools

Principals say internet trends, stress likely behind incidents.

In this Jan. 8, 2020, photo Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, heads to a briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington. An Alaska man faces federal charges after authorities allege he threatened to hire an assassin to kill Murkowski, according to court documents unsealed Wed., Oct. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite,File)
Delta Junction man faces charges over threatening Murkowski’s life

Authorities allege he threatened to hire an assassin to kill the senator.

Donna Aderhold recites the Homer City Council oath of office and is sworn in for duty at the city council meeting on Oct. 11. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
New council members sworn into duty Monday

Newly-elected Homer City Council members Shelly Erickson and Jason Davis and re-elected… Continue reading

Runners participate in boys varsity race at the Ted McKenney XC Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021, at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. The trails recently reported incidents of vandalism and theft. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Vandalism and theft reported at Tsalteshi Trails

One trail user reported stolen skis recently and multiple signs have been defaced.

At left Bonita Banks, RN, Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) nurse at Homer Medical Center, and at right, Annie Garay, RN, Community Health Educator, pose for a photo at South Peninsula Hospital on Sept. 27, 2021, at Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Derotha Ferraro/South Peninsula Hospital)
New hospital community health educator starts

Garay, a Homer raised nurse, came home to ride out COVID-19, wound up doing pandemic nursing.

The logo for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is displayed inside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin Building on Thursday, July 22, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Montessori school goes to universal indoor masking

As of Tuesday, eight KPBSD schools were operating with universal indoor masking for staff and students.

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: Crabbers look at cuts to quotas

Tanner, opilio crab quotas cut on top of cancellation of fall king crab fishery.

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Judge sides with psychiatrists who alleged wrongful firing

Two psychiatrists said they were wrongfully fired when Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy took office.

Most Read