A few days ago I read an article in Library Journal by John N. Berry III, Editor-at-Large entitled "The Vanishing Librarians" , which talks about efforts from certain library managers to turn libraries and their services into modern day "Barnes & Noble".
I cannot agree with Mr. Berry on 100 % because I feel that he wrote the article in past tense and only compares libraries today with libraries in the past, without acknowledging the positive changes that some public libraries have gone through.
For me libraries could never turn into "Barnes & Noble" or "Borders" because in bookstores:
1 You cannot learn new computer classes and learn about new technologies
2 Cannot attend game programs with other teens
3 Watch free movies on Friday nights and weekends
4 Cannot participate in trips to local destinations
5 Attend cooking and learn how to prepare delicious meals
6 Participate in toddler story time with your 3 years old
7 Book the library auditorium for your non profit organization meeting
8 Take knitting classes with other adults
9 Take library classes for whatever interests you
If librarians feel that their library is turning into a local bookstore, maybe the reason is that they are not offering some of the above mentioned services.
That is not to say that libraries cannot learn from bookstores like "Borders" and "Barnes and Nobles” how to merchandize their collection, better lit their shelves and offer coffee shops near their serials collection.
But maybe Mr. Berry wrote the article to provoke our thinking and make us find what are the differences between a library as a community center and a local bookstore.