"The poor students won’t be able to do their work because they have no Internet access. Thus, they’ll do more poorly in school, perhaps not even graduating. Their lack of education will most likely keep them poor. The cycle of poverty.
But who cares about them when a library could get a sexy 3-D printer and attract some DIY techies. It all comes back to the question, just what is a public library for? Should a library start focusing on wants when it can’t even fulfill needs?”
The Annoyed Librarian is the pseudonymous librarian that most “cool” and “hip(ster)” librarians love to hate. But once in a while the guy (or gal) actually gets it. This here is certainly a question I would often ask myself as well when it comes to issues of poverty and online access inequality. Unfortunately, in the profession, it is one of those questions that is not popular to ask (or if asked, you may not like the answers if you have some empathy).
The quote comes from “Needs Before Wants, or Vice Versa?”
For my non-librarian friends, the question of what libraries are for— do they give people what they need or what they want— is a common one, hotly debated, and often given as a “thought” exercise in library schools. It is not always an easy answer, but for some issues, like this one, the answer really should be a no-brainer.