Thursday, September 8, 2016

Reading #2 - If Public Libraries Didn't Exist, Could You Start One Today?

Reading #2 - If Public Libraries Didn't Exist, Could You Start One Today?

In 150 words, post a reply to "Reading #2 - If Public Libraries Didn't Exist, Could You Start One Today?". Within your reply, summarize the article and propose a question or critique regarding the article. Try to keep STEEP (Scientific, technological, ecological, economical, and political) perspectives in mind while synthesizing your responses. 

41 comments:

  1. In this article Steven J. Dubner makes a few key points about the existence of public libraries. Dubner thinks that almost no one can hate libraries. Book publishers however would rather prefer their books being sold directly to people instead of being sold to libraries and being read there. If the library buys one copy of the book and “…Let’s say 50 people will read that copy.” If even 10 people would have bought it, that’s 9 additional sales for the publisher. However Dubner also says that these public libraries, train young people to read and buy books when they’re older. They help expose us to the works of different authors. If we were to try to start a public library today it would be completely different. My question is how would all of it work, as in the charges and costs included in the buying and circulation of books?

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  2. In the article Steven J. Dubner talks about how practically no one besides book publishers hate the public library. Dubner thinks that since most People end up borrowing books from the library to read rather then buying it it causes the publisher to loose sales. How ever Dubner says that the libraries train youths to become readers, explore different autors and make them passionate readers so when they are older they buy books. Coming to Dubner's main point: what if there were no libraries and we were to start one today. What kinda libraries would we have if we consider the current society and how it is ran. I think book publishers charging a certain amount every year for the book seems like they way the libraries would get new books.

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    1. Good reply, but Dubner says that in long term libraries do cause publishers benefits because they train young readers to smartly buy books and expose them to authors which they previously would not be exposed to. So in the long, libraries do help publishers. As well, I think your question might be too broad to answer.

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  3. Steven J. Dubner brings attention to the impact that libraries have on not only the economy, but life in general. He recognizes that "libraries help train young people to [become] readers", however, his following remark that adults will transition to becoming book-buyers over-looks those below the poverty line, who cannot afford purchasing every book they read. The injustices that libraries serve to authors and publishers is evident in Dubner's report, and his proposed system attempts to provide relief on that end. I appreciate that he realizes how a "library system...[that] were being built from scratch today, would have...a very different set of dynamics and economics". Had mankind come to this point in time without the creation of libraries, not only would the "dynamics and economics" of the new library be completely different than the ones in existence today, but the whole social structure would be skewed; for better or for worse, I can't say. If very few individuals today see a use for libraries, there is no way to tell if this alternate dimension would have the same views as people currently do on the matter.

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  4. In Dubner’s article, he proposes the question: if public libraries didn't exist, could we start one today? He continues to explain how the model would work with a yearly licensing agreement between the publisher and libraries, and the backlash that it might receive today with issue of intellectual property. He talks about how libraries can be good to encourage young readers to start reading and buy books from a specific author. He also elaborates on the bad, on how an author can sell one book to a library, but countless others can read it without paying the author a dime. The question remains the same however, and I think today, if libraries weren't here, they'd have no place. Our knowledge is preserved and accessing the internet is much quicker and more efficient than using books. Doesn't it make more sense to have countless books in the palm of your hand?

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    1. True, the simplicity and accessibility of having "countless books in the palm of your hand" does seem ideal. However, what of the past? Had scriptures remained untouched by the public, available only to those viewed as "worthy", our society would not be as it is today. Knowledge is power, and the distribution of information throughout the masses is what has allowed philosophers to invent the technology that we take for granted today. It is the ability to collaborate with others, argue, defend, explore, and create, that has led us to the coming about of the internet. Libraries are the collection of thoughts and ideas, experiences and failures of history, of our founders. Had we not instilled libraries at an earlier date, I strongly believe that our would would be that of sheep; human beings blindly following the wishes of a dictator, solely because there is no shared awareness. A world where engaging in a conversation such as this would be next to impossible to fathom. A world where a revolution is guaranteed to occur, eventually creating libraries in the process, much similar to the French Revolution.
      We see only where we are today, at this moment, disregarding the past and its influence on how we got here.

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    2. I agree that it will be more efficient and easier to learn with internet, but what about those that do not have access to the internet? Does that mean people are forbidden from knowledge only because they do not have the facility that we do?

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  5. Stephen’s Excerpt describes the current discussion as to whether we should continue to produce and to update knew libraries. He brings up many different fields to address, On the economic side the government would save money from not having to pay, and publishers would generate a lot more money from sales. But those who are more facing economic hardship may struggle to indulge in reading. And the point of that library's expose people to more literature than other solutions. I feel that we would not benefit from libraries in the same way we could benefit from digitalized libraries. This would function as people could sign up for e books or have the paperback mailed to there house. This would address the economic hardship for the government and the people facing economic adversity. Publishers could also receive a portion of the yearly fee we pay based on how many people downloaded their book.

    Question: can we digitalize libraries

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    1. In response to your question, I do believe that we can digitalize libraries. In my understanding of this concept I believe that it would be very beneficial to most as we could have many novels with us and we would not have to worry about the weight of carrying 5 novels. But how exactly would people who order a paperback receive notifications if they are late in retuning their book? Would it be by email( as the service they received the book was digital) and would they receive a late fee and of how much would you guess( would it be determined by time or by the condition of the novel as well as time)?

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  6. Dubner talks about different viewpoints of public libraries. He states, besides book publishers, not many people dislike them. Publishers and authors often face deficit because of public libraries. This is because if 50 people go to the library and sign out a book, chances are, they won’t buy the book because they’ve already read it. Whereas if public libraries didn’t exist, maybe 10 of those people would’ve bought the book. But advantages to having libraries include: Training young people to eventually buy books, exposing readers to authors unknown and fostering a general culture of reading. Dubner proposes a licensing agreement in order to update libraries: $20 to buy the book, plus $2/year for every year beyond one year of circulation. Because we live in such a technological age, if public libraries were updated or newly established, would they be successful? Would people prefer a digital copies of books instead?

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  7. Dubner’s article presents the question, “If public libraries didn’t exist, could you start one today?”. His main point is that public libraries were created with a different ideology towards intellectual property than the one we have today. He thinks that modern publishing companies would be opposed to selling one copy of a book to an institute that could potentially share it for free with hundreds. Economically, this makes sense; why sell one copy when you could be selling more? However, Dubner also addresses that libraries are important in promoting reading in young people and creating a general culture of reading, which in turn yields more book sales. With that being said, you could say his argument is neutralized. If there were no libraries today, and someone tried to create them, modern publishers would have the choice of immediate profit, or long-term profit, and I think they would choose the latter.

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  8. In the article written by Stephen J.Dubner it is titled “If public libraries didn't exist could you start one today?” The article speaks about would it be possible to create the idea of a public library in today's modern day and age. The argument given by the author is no since theoretically "there would be a huge push back from book publishers" since it would make them lose money since it allows more than one person read a copy for free rather than those individuals buying a copy and the author gaining a greater profit. The question I have for this topic is without libraries how the author would be able to have their books recognized to a greater extent that it already is using the current system while competing with a thousand other books being published around the same time to gain a profit they desire? -Naman Mahal

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    1. nicely written, the only question I have is what if the authors ( in a society where there are no public libraries ) are represented on a different platform because as far as we know, the authors could have a larger impact on their audience than they would if public libraries existed.

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    2. Nicely summarized, my question is that the profit influences from people buy and borrowing?

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  9. The article by Stephen J. Dubner suggests that public libraries are detrimental to book publishers because they result in fewer book sales. However, Dubner also conveys that public libraries are convenient as they encourage people to read and study the works of different authors. Dubner presents a question asking ‘If public libraries didn’t exist, could you start one today?’. He believes that a new public library today would have very different dynamics and economics with a yearly licensing agreement between the library and the publisher. I don’t necessarily agree with Mr. Dubner, I think a public library could be started today and it would be very similar to the public libraries today. Books would be available to the public to borrow and there would be a membership which would allow the people to contribute to the services they receive. I favour public libraries because they spread knowledge and ideas, expand people’s thinking range and are a great source of learning, For example, a teenage boy in Africa built a wind turbine from scratch by reading books and provided electricity for his village. I don’t think writing books should be made into a business because knowledge should be a human right as it often leads to innovations that benefit society. Also, with more public libraries, less books will be sold and printed, which saves a lot of paper and reduces deforestation.

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  10. In the article, Stephen J. Dubner talks about the possibility of opening a public library today if none existed so far. Dubner raises the view of book publishers and how they don’t necessarily like libraries due to the fact that they lose tons of book sales. He also states that in the long run libraries are beneficial for young readers as they will buy the books they love in the future. But in today's day and age, most things are on the internet for free, including books. Aren’t book publishers mad about that? Because
    anything on the internet can reach a much larger audience compared to the library. Again having a physical copy of a book is great, most people (including myself) prefer the cheaper and more convenient option which in this case is to read a book online for free rather than to go out and buy a book.

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    1. I do agree that most things are available on the internet but don't you feel like it's stealing when you find something that someone else has worked really hard on? Also there is a lot of copyright laws against that. Also do you think that books should have ad's? It would also reach a larger audience.

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  11. This article discuses the value of public libraries by posing the question: "If public libraries didn't exist could you start one today?.” Dunbar explains that a library will buy a book and the same single book will serve 50 more people meaning that the author and the publishing company could potentially loose 50 sales of their book. This article has the same mindset that Dr. Levitt has in his article about universal healthcare, “when you don’t charge people for things, they will consume too much of it”. However, those that don’t have the economic stability to buy books or access technology will lose their right to knowledge and information. Could a system be implemented so that technology is available for the public with the implantation of public taxes that support those that do not have the resources?

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  12. In his article Stephen J.Dubner talks about public libraries and how they affect the public, the publishers, the authors and how they would be different if they were opened more recently than before. Dubner then raises the topic of how even though authors and publishers may not be particularly drawn to them, public libraries do have positive impacts on young readers such as exposing them to new genres and authors that they wouldn't of wanted to read in the first place and I do agree with this fact but then wouldn't this be positive towards authors and publishers as well? Because if they have new readers exposed to their own books and, have written a story well enough that it connects with readers new and old ,which in turn would push readers into wanting to buy their book, would it not be more beneficial to have libraries than not?

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    1. That would be true but in today's day and age people get their book online from the internet so wouldn't using public libraries eventually become obsolete?

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    2. I agree with your opinion as well. However, it seems that bookstores are developing a culture in which arm chairs, toys and coffee shops are readily near books creating a more comfortable, community-like environment. Bookstores also encourage more spending on books so its possible that the value of libraries could decrease more because of this new developing culture. But if you are a citizen with a low income budget the library could be a saving grace.

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    3. Is it possible that the book reader and balance the relationship of libraries and book publisher?

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  13. In his article, Stephen J. Dubner poses the question “If public libraries didn't exist, could you start one today?” Throughout history, libraries have been a way to spread knowledge and educate the masses. Books offer people another perspective, one they often wouldn't think of on their own. They allow people to disappear into another world and learn about life through another's eyes therefore giving people a chance to learn from others mistakes. In addition, reading helps children develop morals and be more empathetic making them a more ideal citizen. By having accessible knowledge for all, we are making our society a safer place. Hard copy books are a perfect way to spread information and represent history as we dont have to worry about information being changed in them without our knowlege. In this day and age with the internet allowing knowledge to be just a keystroke away, it is easy for many people to dismiss the value of hard copy books. Some people like publishers don’t like libraries as it decreases sales of books loosing some of their potential revenue. Although that is a valid argument against libraries, it should also be argued that knowledge should not capitalized upon. Everyone has the right to learn and taking away public libraries would deny the less privileged an opportunity to read. Since we are a society largely based upon education and order, I think the the real question we should be asking ourselves is, if libraries never existed, what effect would that have on our society?
    -Sophie De Souza

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    1. As you mentioned, public libraries aren't always a lose of book sales. In the article, Dubner also states the benefits of having a public library for the publishers.

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  14. In the article Steven J. Dubner talks about the libraries being disliked by book publishers. He believes that book sales are lost by publishers, as people tend to borrow them from the library, instead of buying it themselves. However, Dubner does mention that libraries increase the sales of books by training the kids to become readers, exposing them to the works of different authors and fostering a general culture of reading, so that when they are older, they buy books. In the article, Dubner states if it is possible to establish a public library, if a concept as such never existed. However, he wonders if book publishers will be willing to sell one book and allow others to borrow it. He suggests to make things fair, they could come up with a licensing agreement. The agreement would be: $20 to own a book, plus $2 per year for its circulation.

    Question: Taking into account our advancing society, how effective would this library be?

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    1. If the publishers did want to make long term profit why wouldn't they want to come up with some way of benefitting themselves and charging the library for every book that gets borrowed? Even though technology enables us to buy books digitally online it still helps publishers make money, so wouldn't it be the same either way?

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    2. Yes it would be, if the books we read from online were always bought because not all of the books are bought online, there are website where one can download a book that is free of cost. With websites like these, publishers can loose there book sales, and the public library may not be as effective.

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  16. In this article Stephen J. Dubner proposes to different perspectives to one question; if public libraries didn’t exist could you start one today? He proposes how the authors and publishers disagree because for them it's a loss of profit as libraries buy limited number of copies which are read by hundreds of people as oppose to those individuals buying copies. He counter proposes saying that libraries help young people molding them into readers, foster reading culture without it there would be fewer book sales, and expose readers to different authors which may not be noticed otherwise. To answer the million dollar question would libraries be successful today if they didn’t exist; yes they would be successful however they would not be at the same level as they are today they would resemble small intimate book stores with limited authors, genres, and copies.

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    1. But how would these different libraries come into conception? It is easy to idealize, but the economics of it all need to be considered. Would these "Small intimate book stores" be economically sustainable and independent with a much smaller consumer base?

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  17. In his article, Stephen J. Dubner poses the question “If public libraries didn't exist, could you start one today?” Throughout history, libraries have been a way to spread knowledge and educate the masses. Books offer people another perspective, one they often wouldn't think of on their own. They allow people to disappear into another world and learn about life through another's eyes therefore giving people a chance to learn from others mistakes. In addition, reading helps children develop morals and be more empathetic making them a more ideal citizen. By having accessible knowledge for all, we are making our society a safer place. Hard copy books are a perfect way to spread information and represent history as we dont have to worry about information being changed in them without our knowlege. In this day and age with the internet allowing knowledge to be just a keystroke away, it is easy for many people to dismiss the value of hard copy books. Some people like publishers don’t like libraries as it decreases sales of books loosing some of their potential revenue. Although that is a valid argument against libraries, it should also be argued that knowledge should not capitalized upon. Everyone has the right to learn and taking away public libraries would deny the less privileged an opportunity to read. Since we are a society largely based upon education and order, I think the the real question we should be asking ourselves is, if libraries never existed, what effect would that have on our society?
    -Sophie De Souza

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  18. If publc library didn't exist could you start one today? In this article Mr. Dubner talks about the different arguments that could be made about public library. Not many people have negative feelings toward libraries except some publishers. In libraries around 50 people will read one book and not all will buy the book. If libraries didn't exist around 10 people would have bought the book meaning publishers lost 9 book sales. Libraries do have many advantages like fostering a general culture of reading and expose youth and others to books they may not have looked twice at. I believe that if we did start a library today it would be completely digital because actual paper books cost a lot in production. My question is that if libraries didn't exist and books aren't as readily available to the less fortunate, then would the middle and lower class see books as unnecessary or valuable since they weren’t readily available to them?

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  19. In the Freakonomics article written by Stephen J. Dubner, Mr Dubner writes about the current popular consent on libraries and then poses the theoretical question on what it would be like if we didn’t have them. The main topic in the article is the perspective of the publishers who have to try to sells their books to libraries. Dubner then talks about how for every book bought by a library in his scenario roughly every copy that is read 50 times only about 10 copies are bought. He then talks about the flip side of the argument with the point of an increased audience range before posing his rhetorical question and stating his opinion. My opinion is that we would be able to establish Libraries due to the great benefits of educating the next generation of readers, social programs for the less fortunate of us, and the increased credibility of a book over the internet.

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  20. In the article by Steven J. Dubner, he talks about how public libaraies is a problem to book publishers. When readers meet writers and talk about how good their book was that was borrowed from the library. Rather than borrowing it they could have bought it. Libraies argue that : a) Libraries help train young people to be readers; when those readers are older, they buy books. b) Libraries expose readers to works by authors they wouldn’t have otherwise read; readers may then buy other works by the same author, or even the same book to have in their collection. c) Libraries help foster a general culture of reading; without it, there would be less discussion, criticism, and coverage of books in general, which would result in fewer book sales. Although the money does circulate within a year. So is it better to buy book (publishers) or borrow book (libraries)?

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  21. Stephen J.Dubner proposes the question “if there was no public library, what would happen?” Well, according to Dubner`s assumption, publishers and authors wouldn’t be pleased to see buildings filled with books that can be read by “50 people [and] more” with no cost associated! However, I believe libraries are ideal for any day in age as they provide many services. I’d like to point out that libraries do promote book sales as children are exposed to lots of reading material. This allows them to gain interest in something, and grow up to be passionate readers that want buy books for themselves. Although, in my opinion, reading a novel, drawing connections to characters with oneself, and experiencing new thoughts is the most rewarding aspect that a book can offer. Still, how do authors measure the value of books, is it the money they make or the hearts they touch?






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    1. There has to be a value, in dollars, on these books because this price has to cover the production cost, the authors salary and the bit of profit the publishers make.

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    2. There has to be a value, in dollars, on these books because this price has to cover the production cost, the authors salary and the bit of profit the publishers make.

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  22. In his article, Steven Dubner proposes that, if libraries hadn't already been an ingrained part of our culture, introducing them into modern society would be difficult, and "[Libraries] would have a very different set of dynamics and economics". The culture of sharing that has been created, in part, due to libraries has become so much a part of many Nations that it is often considered the work of a civilized people. Libraries have progressed much from the "Kalendars" of the Roman Catholic Church, some of the earliest recorded public libraries. No longer is the library an extension of religious institutions, but a recourse of knowledge, one of humanities' most valued resources. Dubner suggests that, if the public library had not existed previously, and was a new idea, that it would be much more economically oriented. However, without libraries as a foundation, would we hold such a high value for knowledge?

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  24. In this article Steven J.Dubner speaks about libraries. At the begining of the article he talks about how many people love libraries, and goes on to state that people like authors do not like them beacuse it is stopping them from making more moey off their book as they normally would have. He them preposes a question 'If libraries didnt exist, could you start one today?' One may argure that with all this new technology people can just find and download the book to read anywhere anytime. Many studies show that reading a physical copy of a book opposed to a electronic copy is better for ones body and brain. Libraries are also a great place for people to get together or do reasearch with sources ofinformation they would not have had otherwise. If libraries didn't exist it would be very difficult to get one started expecially with the internet around whitch is a virtually endless source of information. As well if the authors are payed a certain amount consistantly (say evrey month for five to sevrn years depending on how many copies of the book are taken out) for the library to own the book then the author does not fell like they are losing money. Without libraires people would not have the same appreciation for knowledge as we do now.

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  25. In this article, Steven J. Dubner purposes the question of "if libraries didn't exist, could you start one today?" Though libraries provide a public place for the exchange of knowledge and allows a sense of community for some people, I believe that they are dispensable. Computers and cell phones are our new libraries since all the information is attainable at the touch of a button. Dubner explains the perspectives of publishers trying to sell their books to libraries and then goes on to talk about the amount books read compared to the amount of times the same book is actually bought, which is costly to publishers. Though I do personally prefer reading a hard copy book in lieu of reading it off a digital screen, I think that if libraries hadn't been introduced, and we had we only relied on technology to provide us with information, the concept of "library" would be very difficult if not impossible to impose upon society since we'd be so accustomed to the facility of obtaining knowledge through our devices.

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