Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Libraries Keep Us Free

There have been several comment posted saying that Encinitas doesn't need a public library anymore because the internet has made libraries in general archaic. I think this is a dangerous opinion.

I subscribe to the theory that once we use the internet as an excuse to stop building public libraries it will mean a breakdown of democracy.

Not everyone can afford a computer. People who pay for internet access don't always know how to seek the information they want. Google is powerful but your local librarian, a walking talking breathing person you can talk to, is your real link to knowledge.

The new Encinitas library was apparently designed without any regard to construction cost which I view as a colossal failure of the architect and not just the people who approved the design. A simple streamlined less is more design would be more appropriate. Less bling for the building outside and more resources inside.

It's a shame that the high cost of construction and materials is causing people in this town to turn their anger onto the institution of public libraries. Instead be anger that our library was torn down without any real leadership or plan to rebuild.

The Wikipedia entry for libraries (yes, I'm aware of the irony here) link,

In the traditional sense of the word, a library is a collection of books and periodicals. It can refer to an individual's private collection, but more often it is a large collection that is funded and maintained by a city or institution. This collection is often used by people who choose not to--or cannot afford to--purchase an extensive collection themselves. However, with the collection or invention of media other than books for storing information, many libraries are now also repositories and access points for maps, prints or other artwork, microfilm, microfiche, audio tapes, CDs, LPs, video tapes and DVDs, and provide public facilities to access CD-ROM databases and the Internet.

Thus, modern libraries are increasingly being redefined as places to get unrestricted access to information in many formats and from many sources. More recently, libraries are understood as extending beyond the physical walls of a building, providing assistance in navigating and analyzing tremendous amounts of knowledge with a variety of digital tools.

People keep saying that Encinitas doesn't need a library because Cardiff has one. That is a decent argument. People keep saying that Encinitas doesn't need a library because Carlsbad has one close by. This is terrible. We have all these developers saying Encinitas needs to be more like Carlsbad (meaning massive urban sprawl) but at the same time we should just gravy train their library?

Speaking of the Carlsbad library, have you seen the cars in the parking lot? I'm confident that all those people can afford computers and internet access.

Google vs the public library.

"The only people that think the internet makes libraries obsolete must not know how to use the library." Quote from a teacher friend of mine, "Students that don't use the library, and Google instead, turn in the worst reports as a rule over the last few years. Those reports are often shallow like a lot of the fluff on the internet. The internet provides the literary research equivalent of sound bites. Information is organized by subject in the library and not ranked by search engines. Sometime this is good sometimes this is bad. We need both."

Quote from a researcher friend of mine, "I don't know anyone looking for a faculty position at a university that would work someplace without a library, even if they get a high speed connection to the internet."

Founding father Ben Franklin is credited with creating our first public library, the Library Company. Franklin felt that "these Libraries have improved the general Conversation of Americans, made the common Tradesman and Farmers as intelligent as most Gentlemen from other Countries, and perhaps have contributed in some Degree to the Stand so generally made throughout the Colonies in Defence of their Privileges."

Without a library Encinitas is just a yuppie slum filled with slack jawed yokels wandering the aisles of the Ecke Ranch Barnes&Noble, our mouths agape waiting for our Starbucks order to come up.

Why do you hate Ben Franklin so much?


  1. Libraries serve multiple functions if designed and managed well.

    As for being a repository of books, this is still a desired function. Lots of people trek to Carlsbad for their books so there is still a desire. Books are not going out of style. How can I say this? Walk over to Barnes and Nobel and notice all the people looking at books.

    As for the role of library in supporting democracy, I think it is clear that a library is more important that an gym. We have a nice gym off of Balour already.

  2. Sticker shock on the price of the library? Wait till the council tells everyone that the operating costs have increased since their last prediction. Property owners will be forced to decide on funding what the council wants or saying no to more taxes.

    Look at the mountain of dirt cut down at the library site - more added cost.

    On Sundays, the closed community center was serving as a church. Following that use, a variety of groups could use the library during the hours it is closed to the public.

  3. Roadside Park BumMay 03, 2006 9:49 AM

    Encinitas decided to build a library because CarlsBAD was building one and Solana Beach and Cardiff also. A kind of Library envy if you will. How the $4 million library of 7-8 years ago has morphed into a $20+ million is anyone guess. Mostly it comes down to a bunch of politicos wanting to be seen cutting a ribbon and getting their names on some bronze placque!! Don't believe me, go check the base of the Encinitas sign near D street Bar and Grill.

    Yes the library will have a "deck" where you can stand and watch the ocean while sucking down your latte, but don't ask the Roadside park bum and the taxpaying public in general to pay for your lifestyle. If you want to look at the ocean, GO TO THE BEACH!!!! IT"S FREE!!!!

    And what hours will the library b open?? No county library is open after 7 PM, sooooooooo you're going to have to go somewhere else to see the green flash!!

    AS for Ben Franklin, well he and I have much in common, he didn't bath and neither do I, he was covered with furuncles and carbuncles and I've had those. He fathered 13 bastard children(kinda like your modern NBA player). Not much to be proud of.....

    Now that I've set you people straight, I'm off to find some breakfast behind Juanitas and then take my place at the I-5 off ramp.

    Staggering down the 101, it's your Roadside Park Bum!!!

    What's that Johnny Taco?? You don't know what furuncles or carbuncles are, go look them up at the library.............in CarlsBAD!!!!

  4. The current City Hall site would make a great library. It has a good layout, nice view & sits in a good central location.
    I sucks the city took it over. They don't deserve it! move the city hall inland. A modest building with out a view would be the best. Then we could put off funding the new library until we can afford it.

  5. Notice of special meeting today. Closed session for the city council.

    Agenda item:
    Selling city-owned property, Quail Gardens Drive property.
    City negotiator: Kerry Miller
    To negotiate with: prospective interested parties.
    Under negotiations: price and terms

    Sell, sell, sell.

  6. I think if all you Encinitans are coming to my fair city to check out books and surf vids we should add a surcharge! And BTW, most nights our two libraries are open till 9PM, but no refreshments for sale. B&N is great for that, plus they have all the surf mags and you can read them for free.

    But seriously, thanks JP for a well thought out post on the benefits of libraries. The two in Carlsbad are well used by the citizens and you guys are welcome to use them.

  7. Dr.Lorri GreeneMay 03, 2006 11:20 AM

    Besides being the "cornerstone of a democracy", libraries do serve to protect us and our freedom. Has anyone thought what it would be like if all computers "crashed" and all information on the "net" suddenly disappeared? Sounds crazy? Maybe, but it could happen. How about a long term power outage? What good is your computer then? Once they get rid of libraries, the governenment is free to regulate the internet and it is one step closer to a dictatorship. If you look at history, book burning is not uncommon. In parts of the world today, it is illegal to have or buy certain books, and the authors have bounties on their heads. Salmon Rushdie was one such author. Be careful of too much technology. It is wonderful, but it can also be dangerous if in the wrong hands.

  8. Mayor Bud is so always so nice he makes me feel bad for trash talking Carlsbad all the time.

    Jon P. makes an excellent point. Kick the city council out of the old Mayflower building and into an empty suite at Ecke's business park. The current city hall would be a great library.

    I still like the deck concept, jut not the zig zag $$$ deck we are getting.

  9. Roadside Park BumMay 03, 2006 2:42 PM

    Corner Stone of Democracy???? HA, HA ,HA!!!! Where were you freedom loving library patrons when Castro was locking up his librarians for wanting to read non-authorized books!! I didn't see any mass protests by you harbingers of library freedom, standing-up for a Cuban citizens rights to read a book that they choose!!

    As for a great power outage, do you really think that "they" are going to let you check out a book from the library if the power is out??? Like you're going to drive to the library to check out books, only someone with too much education thinks like that!! Come on now, enough is enough!!! I've had my laugh for the day, any more and I'm liable to soil my pants!! Really get a life!

    Too much technology?? Here you are "blogging" and you're complaining about technology. It's this type of thinking that makes me want to be a bum in Solana Beach or Del Mar. Ohhhh, that's right bums aren't allowed in S.B. or Del Mar. Guess I'll just have to keep reducing property values in good OL' Encinitas.
    Now My lunch hour is over and I gotta go back to my offramp, you know it's true- I do more thinking during my lunch hour than most of you do all day!!!!

    Staggering down the 101, it's your neighborhood Roadside Park Bum

  10. Complaining about technology? I love technology, but not as much as you, you see. But I still loooove technologeeeee.

    Bums could use the public libraries computers and internet access to start their own blogs. Blogs are free. Freedom baby, can you handle it?

    Cuba is a communist country and therefore sucks.

    I think Dr. Greene meant that libraries archive our information for the long run.

    Oh, and I meant Mayfair market, not Mayflower.


  11. roadside park bum is blogging from his Palm Trio since he don't have a house to plug in his desktop.

  12. "only someone with too much education thinks like that"

    I think I hear banjos on the river...

  13. Dr. Lorri GreeneMay 03, 2006 7:40 PM

    I wonder when too much education became such a bad thing? That comment scares me. As for my own use of the computer. You bet I do. I also am a regular user of the Cardiff library. I have lived here 16 years and used the old one in the shopping area where Seaside Market is located. To make matters worse, I will continue to educate myself. This blog is fun, however, I use other sources to find out what is really going on. For example, while some people are thinking, I have been to City Hall and have lots of stuff on our City Attorney who is not one of my favorite people. For example Mr. Sabine gets $150.00 per hour for up to 50 hours a month from the City of Encinitas. Any hours over that is billed at $140.00 per hour. There is no cap on it. He also gets $2500.00 per year from us for professional development. In other words we pay for his continuing education that is mandated by the State of California to keep his license. How did I find this information? By taking my time, energy and the education I paid for and put it to work.I love this blog!

  14. Go Lorri! Yes, I like libraries, don't think the internet will ever put them out of biz.

    Roadside Bum, you don't ring true. Yeah, I remember Mayfair, and wasn't Value Fair there, too?

    That property sat empty for so long. And then a lot of people were upset because our new government spent over $100,000 just for signage at City Hall.

    If there was a big power outage, the libraries would probably close their doors, as the stores do. If it went on, for days, perhaps records could be kept by hand. The registers wouldn't work at the stores.

    I remember when the power went out a few times, in the Commercial area of Encinitas Ranch, when they were putting in all the new homes. Everyone was ushered out.

    Yes, it was politically incorrect to say the old library was serving our needs fine, especially combined with the new Cardiff Library. But we got pressured into a new monument to the vanity of Council, including Maggie, ex librarian. She just goes along with what Kerry Miller tells her, and needs to realize, admit, some of her mistakes. Yeah, Maggie, we all make them now and then.

    We will get a new library. So it's a moot point in some ways. What we can do is learn a lot of lessons, show what we've learned come November.

    Toss out incumbents Guerin and Dalager. They are not on the ball, and are not showing good leadership.

  15. Sabine makes a grip of cash. I want to be a sleazy lawyer when I grow up. The new library better have a big law section.

  16. Mayfair market it was. Mayflower was the moving company. Value Fair used to be where Yogi's is. It was Value Fair and Vons side by side in the Cardiff Shopping center. Now there is a courtyard with Cardiff Seaside Market.

  17. I live up the hill from Seaside Market and I remember there being a Thrifty Drugstore and a Vons where that area is now.Was it a Value Fair? I know it is kind of a moot point, but I am now curious. Probably because I have too much education:)

  18. proud to be a soccer momMay 04, 2006 8:42 PM

    Does Bud Lewis really post here? That is awesome. Bud we love you here in La Costa. I take the kids to the Carlsbad library twice a month.


Thank you for posting on the Leucadia Blog.
There is nothing more powerful on this Earth than an anonymous opinion on the Internet.
Have at it!!!