We read Double Fold by Nicholson Baker for LIS 2000 and discussed it in our small group. Most of us were sort of irritated by his style – he was too over-the-top impassioned to make a really convincing argument to save all the newspapers being deaccessioned from libraries.
October 25, 2011
One thing that struck me from tonight’s discussion of Double Fold and Nicholson Baker was the reaction the non-library public had to the book and the outcry against libraries, librarians, archives, and archivists. I wouldn’t have thought that the removal of older print resources from libraries would have elicited such a response from the general public. Apparently there were such strong feelings that the Association of Research Libraries created a site specifically for reviews and responses to Double Fold!
We talked in our group about whether Baker would have written the same kind of book today as he did in 2001 and for the most part, we thought he would have felt the same and written largely the same book. He is clearly very passionate about the issue and it’s doubtful that he’d be singing a different tune in 2011, since libraries and archives are still digitizing or microfilming so many materials and auctioning or pulping them when done. What I wonder is if the public would have the same reaction to the book that they did in 2001, since most recent studies and statistics are showing that fewer and fewer print resources are being purchased or checked out from the library. So many people are getting their daily news online, searching databases for old newspapers, or reading e-books, it seems like it might be less of a concern. Do you think people would be as incensed today as they were 10 years ago?