From WILL - Focus -

Issues Facing Public Libraries

The weeding of thousands of non-fiction books at the Urbana Free Library has created controversy over transparency in libraries. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about how libraries are curated, what role they play in community and some of the challenges they face due to strained government budgets.

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(Duration: 51:07)

The Urbana Free Library

The Urbana Free Library in Urbana, Ill. (Sean Powers/WILL)

What services do you expect from your public library? Do you want a library to be like a book store, with only newer books and lots of cutting edge technology, or would you rather have a library with extensive collections of books published across several decades? This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Carol Tilley and Kathryn La Barre of the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science about the challenges public libraries face as many make the transition into the digital age. 

We’ll talk this hour about the culling and weeding of books, why certain books don’t make the cut and how to responsibly manage a library collection for a community. We’ll also discuss how all these issues play into financial challenges facing libraries in the area  - a big budget deficit is threatening the health of the Decatur Public Library and recently the Champaign Public Library announced it won’t cut its hours is thanks to a new $500,000 funding stream from the city council.

(An empty shelf that used to hold architecture books at the Urbana Free Library is pictured above. Photo Credit: Jim Meadows/WILL)

Are you concerned about the health or management of your library? What are you worried about and why?