Friday, October 22, 2010

New Grub Street branch library

We love our hero Tim. No mind but his could have come up with this observation on the controversial diktat from the Publishers Association, which seeks to sabotage public libraries' plans to lend e-books : 'it might not be a bad thing if this were to mean the end of the library world as we know it. A public library service run by publishers might be a lot better than the one we have now. Let's try it.'  Moreover, the man who delivered this crass statement was once his protegĂ©. His heart swells with paternal pride. 'That's my boy', says Tim.

Just as the 1930s Daily Mail proclaimed hurrah for the Blackshirts, so our hero cries hurrah for the PA. CoatesWatch is however a little nervous about the idea of a 'public library service run by publishers'. What might this look like?

  • the librarians will all take three hour drunken lunch breaks on expenses, paid for by the readers
  • the staff on enquiry desks will be recruited solely from the 'girls in pearls' whose pictures appear in Country Life
  • other positions wil be filled by unpaid interns and unpublished (and unpublishable) authors marking time
  • each library will only stock its own publishing house's titles

Readers seeking further detail are referred to George Gissing's New Grub Street (link to Project Gutenburg's free e-text, put that in your pipe and smoke it, Stephen Page), or to the excellent Ed Reardon's Week.

1 comment:

  1. And we're delighted to find an extra special Audience with Ed Reardon on BBC iPlayer, but only till Wednesday.