Why a (Now-Deleted) Op-Ed About Replacing Libraries with Amazon Blew Up the Internet

Courtesy of (and shared by Lake Forest Library!)
Written by Rachel Kramer Bussel
Posted July 24, 2018

On Saturday, Forbes contributor Panos Mourdoukoutas, chair of the economics department at LIU Post, published an essay touting the preposterous idea that Amazon stores should replace libraries. It quickly went viral, touching off a social media maelstrom. The piece has since been taken down. But anyone who cares about education, books, learning and their local community should be horrified by this suggestion.

To suggest that Amazon — or any other single company — could replace the rich knowledge local libraries have about their patrons’ needs is insulting. To minimize and dismiss the significant role of public libraries — historically and today — in combating inequality and fostering democracy is simply ignorant.

Libraries are one of the last remaining civic spaces open to the public. They provide vital free services and are storehouses of information. In addition to allowing patrons to check out paper books (including large print and out of print), ebooks, audiobooks, movies and music at no cost, libraries also offer free internet access, career centers and community programming. Additionally, they allow nonprofit agencies and organizations to use their rooms as meeting spaces. Keep Reading…