Books Snark

Snarky letter in today's NYTimes, Letter – How to Find a Book

To the Editor:

Re “A Library to Last Forever” (Op-Ed, Oct. 9):

Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google, writes, “Today, if you want to access a typical out-of-print book, you have only one choice — fly to one of a handful of leading libraries in the country and hope to find it in the stacks.”

Fly??? I’m pretty sure I can e-mail a reference librarian and ask her to check holdings before I do anything so drastic as fly. Hasn’t this guy ever heard of the Internet?

Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Danbury, Conn., Oct. 9, 2009

Not to mention this major civilization advance known as “inter-library loan” — a service provided not only by university libraries but even by better public libraries.

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6 Responses to Books Snark

  1. C.E. Petit says:

    If I might add to that observation about public libraries —

    I consistently get better service from the local public library (admittedly, one that has consistently ranked in the top ten in the nation in its population group for over a decade, essentially since those rankings began) than I ever have from the university library… which is host to the largest public-university collection in the nation and a perennial top-three School of Library and Information Science. That better service ranges from staff attitude to actual responsiveness to interlibrary-loan (and even intra-library loan!) requests, and includes academic research in rather obscure materials both inside and outside of law.

    Libraries are your friend. Except, perhaps, in the Bay Area (California), which has long been rather a blight for public libraries… and that might explain a bit of Mr Brin’s attitude. Along with UNenlightened self-interest.

  2. A. Student says:

    “Not to mention this major civilization advance known as ‘inter-library loan’ — a service provided not only by university libraries but even by better public libraries.”

    It must be nice to be a professor. Students who just want to read a book for the fun of it are not entitled to this.

  3. michael says:

    Follow the link to the Miami-Dade Public library which will serve all your fun-reading needs. It’s where I go, almost every week, for my fun books. They have a great collection, you will rarely need interlibrary loan, but can just go online and if the book is in any branch they will deliver it to the branch nearest you. Try it.

  4. SueAnn says:

    Currently enrolled students get to use Interlibrary loan too, just ask for the form and follow procedures.

    By the way Michael, Barbara says thanks for the plug.

  5. Sarah says:

    Another case of someone so wealthy they aren’t in touch with the real world anymore with the comments about flying. Hilarious comment of “hasnt this guy heard of the internet”.

    I thought I’d read the full article to get the context of the quote, and he does have a good point…. some books are so rare, do we want to risk them disappearing over time? Brin “proposed that we digitize all books” – not a bad idea really all things considered… especially when there is only one copy of a book you need for a research paper and everyone is competing for it.. if it were digital no more arguments over how long you get it for!

  6. Emily says:

    You can also buy used/out of print books via the internet.

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