Ekonomisk nedgång eller depression, vilkendera det nu blir fråga om egentligen, inom kort. Men under svårare tider kan bibliotek spela andra roller, bevittna nya scener, bli involverade i människors liv på radikalt andra sätt än under goda optionstider. Hur det blir här hemma hos oss återstår att se.
Men ute i världen, eller i andra hörn av den globaliserade sfären, märks förändringens vindar.
"As the national economic crisis has deepened and social services have become casualties of budget cuts, libraries have come to fill a void for more people, particularly job-seekers and those who have fallen on hard times. Libraries across the country are seeing double-digit increases in patronage, often from 10 percent to 30 percent, over previous years.
But in some cities, this new popularity — some would call it overtaxing — is pushing libraries in directions not seen before, with librarians dealing with stresses that go far beyond overdue fines and misshelved books. Many say they feel ill-equipped for the newfound demands of the job, the result of working with anxious and often depressed patrons who say they have nowhere else to go."
(The New York Times, Downturn Puts New Stresses on Libraries, 1.4.09)
Men samtidigt som behovet visavi bibliotek växer, dras svångremmarna åt:
"The problem is, as the downturn bites, I fear that library may eventually be gone - taking with it a share of our future prospects that might be infinitesimally small but could also be huge. The adolescent dropping in after school to borrow books of guitar chords could be tomorrow's hero of the so-called creative industries; the eccentric fella spending hours poring over technical manuals might just turn out to be the next James Dyson. Not that they seem aware of it in Nottingham, Swindon or the Wirral, but that's how important this is."
(Guardian, Our libraries are at risk - just when we need them most, 2.4.09)