I'm taking the bait even though the rational side of me urges otherwise! In the interest of full disclosure, I must confess to being an enthusiastic fan of Starbucks who has, at various points, been a (very minor) shareholder. Over the years some friends have even suggested I change my middle name to “Starbuck” — and not because of my affection for Herman Melville. I am also a librarian and the mother of two young children.
After reading this commentary [“Dewey Decimated,” May 19], I must confess to making a few assumptions about the author. I imagine he's young (early-to-mid-20s), lives at home or someplace where rent is cheap and thus has some disposable income, doesn't read much and/or spend time in libraries, and was, quite possibly, recently dumped by a librarian. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about any of these, but I expect at least one of the aforementioned is true.
Libraries are community institutions. They belong to the communities they serve and thus reflect their unique needs. As such, they continue to evolve to meet those needs. They are no longer the “gentlemen's lyceum” of more than a century ago where the leisured classes could spend hours contemplating their navels in solitude. Their mission is to promote lifelong learning, literacy, and yes, fun! Although most simple, trivia-type questions can be answered these days via a quick Google search, more serious questions that someone facing a cancer diagnosis or a legal problem might have require sources that are accurate, current and actually helpful. As someone who was recently (and successfully) treated for breast cancer, I can tell you that librarians and libraries are needed now more than ever to help our communities sort the wheat from the chaff!
Does the author truly believe that Starbucks would support organizations or activities that don't necessarily fit its business objectives? Would it provide meeting space gratis to a support group for cinnamon chip scone addicts? Libraries are here to stay because they're needed. We're not going anywhere. Get over it.