Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Privatizing Libraries

Have you watched Fox news lately? No? Me either. And why? Fox news has been proven over and over again to be terribly biased, and often just outright wrong. They are the extreme case. Maybe you don't believe that Fox has problems with accuracy in their reporting, if so you might want to read some of these cases from the folks at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. So why is it that Fox has problems telling things as they are? The answer is Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch makes no apologies nor does he hide the fact that he uses his ownership of news media to manipulate it. Noam Chomsky among others has described the dangers of corporate owned and controlled news in a democracy. It just doesn't work.

Now enter the age of corporate owned "free public" libraries. Just recently an Oregon library in Jackson County closed, losing over 35% of its funding this year. The local residents did not vote in a new levy (after the government cut funding) to keep their library open. You can read the Forbes story to catch up on the details.

As more communities ponder outsourcing, many of us are sounding alarms. It's no secret that libraries have been a thorn in our governments side regarding censorship and even more so with the enactment of The Patriot Act. Is this the subtle plan to begin reeling libraries into the net of corporate control that dominates news casts like those on Fox? It brings up many frightening scenarios. What is the future of free public access to information? Or are libraries going to become just one more outlet for Amazon? When it's your community library up for sale, I hope you'll think about these hard questions.
I have no more time to scribble on this now, but I will certainly watch this carefully and report what I see - without corporate influence on my words.

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