Public Comment

New: LIBRARIES: The Sterilization of the Berkeley Libraries

By Vivian Warkentin
Saturday March 22, 2014 - 08:53:00 PM

Re: "What has become of the Berkeley Library?". I view the remodeling of our libraries as yet another deliberate stealing and corporatization of the public commons. At what point will we put our feet down? At what point will we see the loss? 

I used to frequent my nearest branch, the North Berkeley Library, often to see what was happening around town. In the front lobby used to be some shelves where citizens could put flyers, newsletters, and literature to share with others. It didn't look neat as a pin, but lived in and alive. Post remodel, the built- in wooden shelves are gone, scraped and amputated from the wall. Outside on the corner sidewalk near the street used to be a community message board where people could post notices and posters. That too has been removed and not replaced. 

When I went inside to check things out I asked the girl at the desk where we were to put our communications for other citizens to read. She replied, "Well there are blogs." She told me if I wanted to post something I could give it to her to put on the bulletin board located by the restrooms, if it passed her inspection. I went to the hidden location to look, and saw only slick Berkeley City planning flyers, nothing of regular citizens. 

Now I hear The Berkeley libraries are getting rid of books and interaction with librarians. What is a library? A warehouse for computer terminals? A place with a "dashboard" to brag about how much greenhouse gas you have saved, because of your fancy remodel at our expense? Who is orchestrating this purge of the spiciness of humanity and our ability to know what our government is doing? Will there be any hard relics of this culture in the future, or just piles of blank unlit computers and smart contraptions?.