Saturday, August 11, 2018

100 Reasons Libraries are Better than Amazon

On Saturday, July 21, 2018, Forbes published an op-ed piece by Panos Mourdoukoutas titled, "Amazon Should Replace Local Libraries to Save Taxpayers Money.” Due to backlash by pretty much everyone, this article has since been removed. Due to the magic of the internet, however, you can still read the article on a cached copy of the website here. Mourdoukoutas is an economist who works for Long Island University, and presumably does not have a library card.

Twitter user @DrunkestLibrary decided to fight back by posting a full 100 reasons why libraries are better than Amazon. We have listed his words for you here, with his permission.

  1.  Amazon is capitalism. Libraries are love.
  2. Libraries doggedly protect your private information. Amazon flaunts your private information. (“Since you bought hemorrhoid cream, you may be interested in an enema too!”)
  3. Libraries help unemployed people access, understand, and complete job applications. Will Amazon help people apply to competitors?
  4. Children’s Librarians are experts in early literacy. Like teachers. Should teachers be replaced with Amazon employees?
  5. Teens reach out to YA Librarians as guides and mentors during difficult times. Will Amazon chat help a teen who doesn’t know where else to turn?
  6. Amazon makes decisions based on profits. Libraries make decisions based on professional ethics and philosophies.
  7. Public Libraries outlived Borders, and they will outlive Amazon too.
  8. Ever heard of a Sexy Amazon Employee fetish?
  9. Libraries and librarians are at the forefront of free speech debates. Amazon...sells stuff.
  10. Despite how offensive and stupid that article may have been, public libraries will continue to offer access to because it is our mission to do so. Amazon does not share that mind of mission.
  11. For-profit companies like Amazon dissolve divisions and initiatives the moment they are unprofitable. Libraries continue to push hard even in the hardest times.
  12. The author cites Starbucks as a shining example of a third place. Starbucks has not exactly been a shining example of a welcoming space lately. Try again.
  13. The library does not require a purchase to use the bathroom like most retailers do.
  14. Unlike Starbucks, the library welcomes black men to just sit down and wait, no purchase necessary.
  15. Librarians help people troubleshoot their devices, whatever they may be. Will Amazon only help people troubleshoot their own products?
  16. Like the police, fire fighters, and EMTs, Librarians often function as first responders. Will Amazon do the same?
  17. Who would you rather make out with anyway, a librarian or an economist? (Hey, I am still supposed to make people laugh despite the seriousness of this list.)
  18. Libraries maintain exhaustive local history/interest collections for their communities. Amazon sells gummi bears by the pound.
  19. Amazon wants your money. Libraries just want you to be you.
  20. When libraries do collect fees, they go into the collection development or other services. When Amazon collects money, it goes into pockets.
  21. For-profit companies answer to a select group of shareholders. Public libraries answer to the people.
  22. Public Libraries offer free ESL classes and help with citizenship. Amazon sells you Rosetta Stone.
  23. Public Libraries do not require your credit card information to let you through the front door.
  24. No two libraries look the same, because they develop organically from their communities. Amazon is a brand.
  25. Librarians are not selling you one damn thing.
  26. You don’t need a password or security questions to use your library.
  27. Library porn is way hotter than Amazon warehouse porn (unless you are into that, because librarians don’t kink shame).
  28. Librarians are EXPERTS in their fields.
  29. Librarians go viral when they make cheesy music video parodies with book trucks. Amazon goes viral when their drones suck.
  30. Communities rally when libraries close. Big corporations come and go every. single. day.
  31. Library Twitter is force to be reckoned with. Amazon Twitter is an ad.
  32. Libraries provide free internet access so people who cannot afford internet service can access websites like Amazon.
  33. Libraries provide free access to magazines so that people who cannot afford magazine subscriptions can have access to magazines like .
  34. Libraries provide free access to (expensive) databases for research purposes. Will Amazon incur this cost despite the fact that it will not boost their own revenue?
  35. Who do you trust more, your public librarian or an economist?
  36. has repeatedly listed the MLIS as one of the worst masters degrees to pursue, yet a bunch of people I know who got business degrees are desperately circulating their resumes, and I have a pension.
  37. Librarians didn’t crash the economy in 2008, big business and big banks and big economists did.
  38. Librarians would even help unemployed library-hating economists navigate new tech and new application processes, cuz that’s just the kind of great people we happen to be.
  39. Librarians don’t want to eat your lunch like for-profit companies like Amazon, but we do prefer you eat it outside, please.
  40. Libraries often willingly function as shelters and safe spaces during natural disasters because we are in the fabric of the community. Will Amazon do the same?
  41. Libraries have literally existed for thousands of years.
  42. Librarians have gone to jail defending their ideals.
  43. Public libraries provide continuing education, open doors, and positive experiences for those who have served time. This contributes to reduced recidivism and safer communities.
  44. It is ridiculous that we even need to say this, but since the author cites in a tweet that people don’t read $495 worth of books a year, we must remind that LIBRARIES ARE MORE THAN BOOKS.
  45. Also, most people I know read more than $495 worth of books a year.
  46. Have you seen Amazon’s homepage? They need a librarian to get that thing organized.
  47. Librarians answer the phone.
  48. Librarians admit their mistakes.
  49. Small public libraries have already been attacked by Koch-funded robocalls. And NOBODY likes the Kochs.
  50. Librarians go above and beyond. Amazon goes by the bottom line.
  51. Librarians ask the community directly what they need. They don’t use algorithms and shady terms of use agreements.
  52. Librarians have been told that libraries are obsolete for decades, and yet by some mysterious magic, we are still here!
  53. Libraries have survived totalitarianism, so they will survive clickbait articles too.
  54. I have more followers than an economist published in and I mention Natty Ice in my bio.
  55. Millions of people can tell you the name of their childhood local librarian. Do you remember the name of your last Amazon customer service rep?
  56. The author’s only response is “Did anyone read my article” and meanwhile librarians are offering well-thought rebuttals LEFT AND RIGHT.
  57. Some librarians are also vampire slayers. Can Amazon say the same?
  58. Librarians don’t care about your money. They care about your mind.
  59. Librarians, at their core, are adapters. Amazon sells you adapters.
  60. Libraries more often than not are beautiful buildings that provide an intangible form of inspiration. Amazon stores are...well, stores.
  61. Children LOVE the library. We know. They tell us.
  62. The author suggests that we have enough community spaces, and yet, public libraries are CONSTANTLY booking meeting spaces for groups. Why is that?!
  63. Librarians visit prisons to provide services to people who need, and deserve, a second chance (or shouldn’t be there in the first place?) Would Amazon do the same?
  64. The library is a destination.
  65. The library helps keep young people occupied, enriched, and out of trouble.
  66. Economically speaking, keeping young people occupied and out of trouble is good for communities. Less delinquency, less crime, less unnecessary strain on community resources. Stores do not have the same effect.
  67. Meet-cutes are far cuter in the stacks than in a retail aisle.
  68. Often when people are new to an area, the first place they check out is the public library, not “a store.”
  69. Do you prefer Dominoes pizza or your local pizzeria? Same goes for the place where you get your books.
  70. Librarians may wear many hats, but we do not wear branded polo shirts.
  71. Libraries don’t log your browsing history.
  72. Libraries selflessly defend the homeless in ways that no for-profit entity can claim.
  73. Librarians hold one another accountable in order to grow and to be better. For-profit companies only do this when they get caught being bad (ahem, Starbucks).
  74. Librarians are loyal to the ideals of the profession, not to shareholders.
  75. Librarians literally spend all night tweeting in defense of their colleagues and their profession.
  76. Librarians aren’t in it for the money (obviously).
  77. Amazon invented a proprietary e-book format while others aspired to a standard. This complicates things for consumers. Librarians don’t complicate.
  78. There is no fine print when you sign up for a library card.
  79. There are no extra benefits for being able to afford a “prime” membership at a public library.
  80. Libraries are not neutral. Neither is Amazon. But ask yourself who has your interests better in mind.
  81. Libraries don’t want to own everything, they seriously just want to help.
  82. Would an Amazon bookstore carry books critical of Amazon? Maybe, but their mission is not the same as a public library, so...also maybe not.
  83. Libraries help the poor.
  84. Libraries didn’t cause the 2008 crash, but they sure helped fix it.
  85. Ain’t nobody rocking “Support Your Local Amazon” bumper stickers.
  86. Librarians dress up, do voices, sing songs, and act CRAZY for story time. Will Amazon have this level of commitment to enriching the lives of children?
  87. Glitter.
  88. Libraries invented the free returns policy.
  89. Libraries are for everyone.
  90. Librarians don’t want your credit card but we will make a funny joke when you hand it to us thinking it is your library card.
  91. If you are still reading these, it is proof that librarians have a voice.
  92. David beat Goliath (you can read more about that at your local library).
  93. Attacks on public libraries are attacks on the poor.
  94. Nobody is going to put “sex in an Amazon store” on their bucket list.
  95. Libraries rock.
  96. People get to know their librarian like their doctor, the mail carrier, their bartender.
  97. @DrunkestAmazonStoreClerk has got terrible jokes.
  98. This librarian is so passionate that he is tweeting his last reasons that article was crap with 2% BATTERY, would Amazon do the same??
  99. Librarians save lives.
  100. And finally, librarians will literally spend all night tweeting a list of 100 reasons why a half-assed attack on public libraries is straight up BUNK.
Many thanks to @DrunkestLibrary for permission to post these reasons, and also for your dedication to the profession. You can follow him on Twitter here to get more quality library- and drinking-themed content.

No comments:

Post a Comment