“If someone suggested the idea of public libraries now, they’d be considered insane. If you said you were going to take a little bit of money from every taxpayer, buy a whole load of books and music and games, stick them on a shelf and tell everyone, ‘These are yours to borrow and all you’ve got to do is bring them back,’ they’d be laughed out of government.”
True. Publishers used to try to sue libraries, arguing that they were violating their copyright by letting people read books they hadn’t paid for.
A friend of ours doesn’t like libraries for this very reason. It’s a bizarre consequence of politics that we’ve moved so far away from the library that we’d never find our way down this road if we had to start over. The Internet used to be much more library-like in its conceit. (We remember hopping on our modems circa 1994 to use the Internet through a text-based interface. Yes, we’re that old. We know what GOPHER is.) Then AOL started charging $20 a month to take a hit of the pipe, and here we are today.