Response 4 – Scarlett Taylor

I was entirely prepared to like Eden’s “The New User Environment: The End of Technical Services.” I really was. It starts with the outlandish list of what users expect of catalogs at their local libraries – that they could possibly be as well-funded, and therefore as complex, as Amazon or Google is dreaming. But then, and I know this is kind of off the point of “technical services” or anything related to this week’s theme, he does not seem to understand why libraries need their own collections of “redundant” materials. I recalled a different course in which we discussed access vs. ownership, and how only providing access, which Eden seems to propose, leaves a library vulnerable to the owner of the material. If this digital material, hosted elsewhere, is changed or moved, the library providing access to it has an independent duty to find that out, whereas with individual library ownership of materials solves that problem. It is important for libraries to have their own collections. Furthermore, providing redundant materials, instead of solely curating special collections, allows more people to use them. This particular proposition bothered me as I thought of popular novels, that people wait for months to come off of a hold, and how it is, in a certain way, classist to say that we should only have digital copies (as not everyone has the means to access one for the time it takes to read a book) or one copy per library system (which only serves the name of “progress” or however Eden would characterize this idea, rather than the needs of the community). Eden, in this section, seems to prioritize the library’s service to the global community over that to the local community, which I believe is misguided. The global community almost invariably self-selects to mean academics, who are great, and I personally use other libraries’ online services frequently, but this is, again, a class issue.

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