Gutting America’s Local Libraries:
Informal Comments on
"Building Earth’s Largest Library"

 Walt Crawford

I've long since realized that portions of G.A.L.L. were overstated, with a few portions being as sloppy and ill-considered as Coffman's proposal itself.

The Web makes it easy to make those portions go away. "What? Go look at the article: I never said that. You have a printed copy? Maybe you inserted those paragraphs before you printed it--can you prove otherwise?"

But I'm a library person, and that's a little too devious for my taste. At least 1,500 people have already read the rant as it was originally written; to pretend that I never wrote those words would be silly.

Incidentally, I flat-out disagree with Coffman's dismissal of G.A.L.L. as being a "diatribe"--which is a lot easier to say than it would be to actually respond to what I wrote. However, there's no question that it was a rant: an angry, rapidly-written, sometimes hyperbolic essay that did not attempt to hide my anger. That's why I call it a rant here, and have typically used that term in referring to the piece--and is one of several reasons why I never intended to, and never intend to, submit G.A.L.L. for print publication.

So: here's what I've done:

Do note that neither one makes complete sense without referring to Coffman's original nonsense. I would just as soon archive this whole mess--but Coffman seems to have turned this into a road show, so I'll leave it "live" for now.

Written and posted 26 August 2000.