Why We Love Libraries

for Red Cap Cards:

Recently, Forbes magazine published an op-ed by economist, Panos Mourdoukoutas, about why we should do away with public libraries as we know them, and replace them with Amazon Bookstores. You heard me correctly! The article detailed the taxes levied toward keeping public libraries afloat, and the opinion that libraries “don’t have the same value they used to.” All of the services provided by libraries (according to Mourdoukoutas) have been replaced: community and wifi are now provided by Starbucks; video rentals by Netflix and Amazon Prime; and books by Amazon.

  llustration by Red Cap Cards artist,    CHRISTIAN ROBINSON   , for the    SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY   , courtesy    CHRONICLE BOOKS

llustration by Red Cap Cards artist, CHRISTIAN ROBINSON, for the SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY, courtesy CHRONICLE BOOKS

Needless to say, the article has since been redacted by Forbes, with apologetic comment: “Forbes advocates spirited dialogue on a range of topics, including those that often take a contrarian view,” a Forbes spokesperson says in a statement. “Libraries play an important role in our society. This article was outside of this contributor’s specific area of expertise, and has since been removed.”

Regardless of the disastrous article and subsequent backpedaling by Forbes, the article did it’s due-diligence in getting people talking about libraries again. What are they, why are they? Are they important. The answer, it seemed, was a very loud YES from across the internet and country.

Here is what a library means to us:

• Fosters a love of reading, education, and art in children and adults.
• Provides access to a world of art and illustration materials that teach as well as entertain
• Gives free access to media materials, internet and computers for all citizens regardless of class and pay grade.
• Offers jam-packed programming schedules with classes such as ESL, citizenship, writing, cooking, and more.
• Offers free tickets to museums, zoos, aquariums and other experiences
• Schedules after-school programs for kids and teens
• Archives genealogy and historical materials.
• Acts as a community safe haven for those in need.
• and so, so much more.

In 2016, one of our own beloved artists, CHRISTIAN ROBINSON, partnered with the SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARYand CHRONICLE BOOKS for a program called “SUMMER STRIDE.” Check out that awesome swag (below)!! The program “encouraged all ages and abilities to have fun reading and learning” during the summer. Here are some amazing images from that program:

  Illustrations by Christian Robinson, for the San Francisco Public Library, courtesy Chronicle Books

Illustrations by Christian Robinson, for the San Francisco Public Library, courtesy Chronicle Books

  Illustration by Red Cap Cards artist, Christian Robinson, for the San Francisco Public Library, courtesy Chronicle Books
IMG_1814-e1464027184238.jpg

This summer, the program is up and running again, this time with work by SHAWN HARRIS. Check out their awesome video, and “stop by a neighborhood library and check out books, comics, eBooks, audiobooks, movies, music and more. Plus, choose from more than 800 programs (all free!) to deepen reading enjoyment, spark STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) passions and learn through active, outside exploration.”

Art by Shawn Harris

We love you, libraries. Don’t ever change…unless you want to start offering free coffee and drinks too. We’re good with that.

And sidenote: if you need ideas, you can check out my handy-dandy hashtag on Instagram: #OVERDUELIBRARYBOOKOFTHEWEEK for the best books that I’m going to end up paying $0.25 a day for.

ANDIE