> it will be a slow death by a thousand cuts
It will be a slow descent into budget fugue, followed by an extremely quick death when we pass an inflection point in "the number of people who remember getting awesome value out of their local/municipal library system."
I bet when a lot of people here first started hearing about library closures in their old neighborhood, or wherever they're living now, their initial reaction was one of total shock followed by "well I guess I can see how that could happen."
When people hear about library closures now, they could be skipping the shock entirely, passing smoothly through "aw that's too bad", and fading into "well there's Google."
> [the library] need[s] to become the center of civic engagement
We need a center of civic engagement with both equality and equity of access. Libraries are a decent foundation on which to build such a thing, but there's at least one common feature of libraries that makes them awful for this: people are supposed to be quiet in the library.
There should be almost nothing quiet about civic engagement, finding a job, learning new skills, research, etc. Less giant rooms with rows of people not saying anything; more smaller sound-proofed rooms with whiteboards and projectors. Like a giant executive briefing center, only with fewer executives and more regular folks with something to ask/teach each other.
Santa Monica is the position of being an economically well-off city (and thus able to afford such a lavish library) with a significant homeless/poor population, which is very well represented in the library. For areas in the midst of complete economic blight, I doubt there's as many niceties opening up--which is sad.
As is the point of the article, in the midst of all this Information Age online-this and online-that, there's a sad lack of civic-mindedness. How does the community as a whole uplift the people within it who are not doing as well? I doubt most of the higher-end property-tax payers in Santa Monica actually go to the library--and it is clearly servicing the people paying the least (or nothing) for it. Sadly, most of the rhetoric I see on the public policy level is, "I was in line at Albertson's and saw someone buying a steak with their food stamps!!! And a bottle of wine! How dare they? You should only be able to buy lima beans and tepid water with food stamps."
Cynical political response: "turning tricks" == good first approximation of dealing with a modern government
Entrepreneurial response: "turning tricks" + video cameras + fast uplink == revenue model
If our attention spans are that fried, are we any better off than the hypothetical guy trying to fill out a government form?
It's a bit like taking someone's synopsis for what the Bible is about. You can't. You have to read it, experience it and parse it yourself or you can't really know.
Myself, I'm not going to pablum-feed you guys a over-simplified short form version of what I think I just read. Read it for yourself.
No wonder libraries are endangered.
When I write a fervent wall of text I think is worthy of reading in full, I don't put on a TLDR, I just pity the fool who doesn't take the time to partake of dense knowledge.
So, TLDR, it is the author feeling the content is lacking in a dense section of text more than the reader having a limited attention span that leads to TLDR's. I think.
There is no evidence that "feralchimp" (who wrote the TLDR here on Hacker News) is the same as "codacorolla" (who wrote the original comment on Metafilter).