I think you guys are over-simplifying this somewhat.

Libraries have limited funding and limited space. Local libraries MUST serve the local tastes or 
they will be de-funded. I am actually quite happy to see the local Bedford Hills library not spend a 
lot of money acquiring the same books and movies that many other libraries in the Westchester 
Library System have acquired. Rather, they spend their resources picking and choosing interesting 
titles that get circulated widely. They did indeed get rid of all or most of their book-on-tape on 
cassettes because patrons weren't checking them out (what car comes with a cassette player 
anymore?). Cassettes and LP media are not mainstream anymore. A public library should be serving the 
majority of community members. It doesn't bother me when they get rid of essentially dead media to 
free up shelf space. And, like Mike, I've benefitted from the $1 castoffs sometimes (in the case of 
LP records, as long as they didn't circulate much -- one trip around a Garrard Record-Wrecker and no 
sane person would want to spin the platter again).

Regarding the notion of "public good" -- this is usually ill-conceived and paternalistic from the 
get-go. I prefer letting "markets" decide -- ie the public will ask their libraries to keep what 
they want to read, watch, listen to, etc, or they will contain to the town fathers controlling the 
purse strings. Given that the public's taxes are supporting said library, their tastes are what 
should rule the roost, not some Taste From On High (with High usually being committees in academia 
receiving sweetheart tax-fund deals).

Within some of our lifetimes, I think the whole notion of physical libraries in buildings will be a 
thing of the paste except for a few well-funded archives. It's coming to where everything that 
nearly everyone will want or need as far as information and media will be accessible online. 
Copyright laws definitely need to be loosened, but the borderless nature of the internet is taking 
care of this on its own. Rather than paying taxes to support a library, a person will pay a 
subscription fee to access massive collections of sounds, words, pictures and movies, which they can 
then tailor completely to their own tastes and wants and curiosities. I'm not saying it's "better" 
or "worse" than how it works right now, but I am saying that it's inevitable.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Stewart Gooderman" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, July 02, 2013 10:21 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Folk Music in America

> Yes. My local library recently go rid of all their spoken word cassette volumes and now only has 
> CDs.
> DrG
> On Jul 1, 2013, at 9:42 PM, Michael Biel <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> I was lucky enough to get two sets of FMIA as they were being discarded
>> by our college library and radio station as they were concentrating on
>> only NEW media.  The same holds true of the New World Records which I am
>> almost complete on for the first 140 issues or so.  It is a shame how
>> some libraries don't recognize the educational and cultural value of
>> things if they are not on the LATEST media.  Our library had a great
>> spoken word, dramatic, and historical LP collection when I arrived, and
>> I bought almost all 600 of these at $1 a disc about ten years ago.  (I
>> only missed the Folkways JAZZ series -- someone working the sale must
>> have grabbed them before opening.) These FMIA and New world LPs had been
>> donated to libraries and public radio stations enhance the libraries of
>> America, and all too many didn't appreciate them.  I castigated them
>> AFTER I hauled them off!
>> Mike Biel  [log in to unmask]
>> -------- Original Message --------
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Folk Music in America
>> From: Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
>> Date: Mon, July 01, 2013 9:18 pm
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> I've been poking around the MP3s. This is great stuff. The books are
>> _very_ complete but not overly
>> obtuse. Making MP3s and scanning the books must have been an
>> undertaking. Much appreciated. I see
>> the point about cassettes vs sometimes scratchy LPs, but my experience
>> with LOC's products is the
>> duped-cassette versions were often very bad-sounding. I always assumed
>> lowest-bidder syndrome. In
>> general, I always thought LOC anthologies were compiled and manufactured
>> by and for scholars, not
>> audiophiles.
>> One thing I don't understand -- assuming the master tapes for these LPs
>> still exist (you'd think
>> they would if they were always in the possession of the LOC), then why
>> can't they be reissued as
>> FLAC and MP3 downloads via Smithsonian Folkways. It seems it wouldn't
>> cost very much to digitize
>> 1970s vintage master tapes given the vast resources of the LOC. They'd
>> probably make back their
>> digitization costs in a few years, sooner if they also sold downloads
>> via iTunes and Amazon.
>> -- Tom Fine
>> ----- Original Message ----- 
>> From: "Cary Ginell" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Monday, July 01, 2013 9:08 PM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Folk Music in America
>>> OK, that does it. I'm pulling out my set and listening to it this holiday weekend. It will be 
>>> like
>>> the first time all over again Thanks, Dick!
>>> Cary Ginell
>>> On Jul 1, 2013, at 4:16 PM, Carl Pultz <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>> Disc 1, track 11, Do You Call That Religion? ....
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
>>>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Richard L. Hess
>>>> Sent: Monday, July 01, 2013 1:59 PM
>>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Folk Music in America
>>>> Hi, Mason,
>>>> Yes, thank you for this. It is most enlightening.
>>>> There were two files that had an error extracting, but WinRAR corrected
>>>> them:
>>>> One had a question mark in the filename which is a
>>>> wild card for a single character in Windows
>>>> The other had a string of asterisks and an asterisk is a
>>>> wild card for any number of characters, hence the
>>>> infamous del *.* command where you erase everything.
>>>> It replaced the ? and * with underscores _
>>>> Cheers,
>>>> Richard
>>>> On 2013-07-01 1:38 PM, Carl Pultz wrote:
>>>>> Wow - thank you! I never heard of this series, so it's really a discovery.
>>>>> Must have taken you weeks. The meta-data alone was a large task.
>>>>> One note - I downloaded the full set zip. After extraction on my
>>>>> office Windows 7 machine, the file/folder names were green, meaning
>>>>> they were encrypted. They opened, but when I tried to copy the music
>>>>> folder to my studio W7 computer, it wouldn't copy. Clearing the
>>>>> Encrypt contents to secure data attribute from the folder's Advanced
>>>> Attributes dialog fixed it.
>>>>> There was an error on one file during extraction, but I don't remember
>>>>> which one. It might not matter, as nothing seems to be missing or of
>>>>> the wrong size. It will be a while before I can play them all. :)
>>>>> Again, thank you!
>>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
>>>>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Mason Vander Lugt
>>>>> Sent: Monday, July 01, 2013 9:51 AM
>>>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>>>> Subject: [ARSCLIST] Folk Music in America
>>>>> Partially in observance of the coming holiday, mostly because I love
>>>>> music and get a kick out of sharing, I scanned and blogged the 1976
>>>>> Library of Congress / Dick Spottswood LP series "Folk Music in
>>>>> America". If you're unfamiliar, it's a 15 LP series of recordings and
>>>>> booklets documenting the folk song and dance of pretty much any
>>>>> culture that can be considered American (US, that is) between 1890 and
>>>>> 1976. It's a truly remarkable set, and has never been available in digital
>>>> form (as far as I know) until now.
>>>>> You can download the full set here -
>>>>> Or download individual volumes and read my notes about it here -
>>>>> Please excuse me if this is "blogspam", but I know Dick is a long-time
>>>>> ARSC member and thought many of you would appreciate it.
>>>>> Mason Vander Lugt
>>>> -- 
>>>> Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
>>>> Aurora, Ontario, Canada 647 479 2800
>>>> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.