We see it all the time–someone leaves a business because they think they could do it, whatever it is, better. I love my job, but I will admit that I have a crazy dream. I have had it for some time in fact. To my knowledge, nobody has ever said “You know what? I’ll start my own library. I’m out of here.” I want to be that person. When I can, this is definitely something I want to explore. How to start a library.
It’s a fascinating question for me. I believe if you polled 100 library users and asked them what the best part of the public library were, you would probably get a majority saying “It’s free.”
Agreed. Free is one of the best parts of the library. Taxes pay for it, but unlike the fire department and police forces, which I hope I will never be in immediate, dire need of, the library is something I can always use. If I choose to, I can always point to it and say, “See? My taxes do something.”
I also believe that the complaints of most library lovers would also overlap. That is what a library entrepreneur would probably need to focus on.
Now, free is the first thing I would removed from the library that I would start. What would this for-profit library include? Could it still be a library if it deviated from the free model? Or would it just be a club that had the word library in the title?
Libraries are an idea as much as a series of buildings, and their functions change from location to location, and may very well change drastically from era to era.
I’m just brainstorming here, but I’m going to throw out some suggestions (based on complaints I get at work) and not think too much about censoring anything:
- Adults only
- A bar?
- All of the most in-demand books, and lots of them
- Ditto with movies
- Computers for private internet use – Lots of them
- Nice library chairs
- Suitable music
- Air fresheners
- An area for eating
Let’s see…I think I’ll leave it there for now. How about you? If you were going to start your own library, as I eventually want to, how would you do it? What would it include? What would it exclude? How would you justify a price?
For further reading for this discussion, if you haven’t read them yet I’d suggest:
- Libraries matter
- Why I never go to the public library
- A rebuttal to Why I never go to the public library
PS: I need someone to design the logo. Any takers?
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