Two digits

I’m still around…and spending possibly more time on this “closed public libraries” thing than it might really deserve. Except that it’s interesting and, I think, says a lot about how much people care about local public libraries–something that’s probably the only real refutation you need of those who claim U.S. public libraries are going to (or, worse, should) fade away or disappear rapidly.

I’ve done all the fast scans and moderately-slow scans, and now I’m on the final leg (before writing it all up and drawing conclusions). That last leg is a killer, probably taking a lot more time than the other phases and requiring breaks after every three or four libraries.

Without revealing results in any detail, the title of this post will tell you something, given that I’m looking at public library closures over a 12-year period (1998 through 2008).

I’m seeing the occasional sad story that says nothing about loss of support for public libraries: For example, when a town is mostly washed away in a flood, goes from 480 people to 26 in the course of two years, and dissolves as a town…well, it’s not surprising that the library is still closed. To some extent, it’s the sad stories and the disappearing communities that make this phase slow and difficult.

Oh, and can I once again say how much I love (for an unusual definition of love) the hundreds (thousands?) of autogenerated webs of pages that make it difficult to ascertain what’s really out there? (That’s not hundreds of pages–it’s probably millions of pages in hundreds of autogenerated webs.)

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