The person leaving dog ears in books and talking loudly on his phone is no longer the most disliked person in the library world. It is Andre Walker.
The New York Observer columnist recently trigged the wrath of the 'guardians of books' when he suggested that all public libraries should be closed since nobody goes to them anymore. He added that the books should then be given to school-run libraries instead.
While Walker is known for making inflammatory statements meant to rile people up, the reading community was not willing to take this one lying down. The comment immediately triggered a wave of angry responses from librarians, book-lovers, teachers and students alike.
"School librarian here," one woman from Ann Arbor, Michigan commented. "We don't want the public library's collection. It's for a broad audience. Ours is specialised. We have diff[erent] roles."
Another Twitter user described it as utter rubbish. "People of all ages use our libraries. Older people & low income often can't afford devices and prefer actual books," she wrote.
One teacher explained how she uses the library to meet students and homeless teens. "What a lifesaver it is for my homeless teens. It's safe, warm & they can feel 'normal'," she wrote and was followed up by a woman who shared her own experience of using the space as place of refuge.
"Libraries saved me when I was homeless. Had a safe space to cool off/get warm and look for jobs, attempt to sign up for services," she commented.
One man in particular, describing himself as the "angriest librarian" (@HalpernAlex) went on a profanity-riddled rant against Walker while speaking up for these public spaces.
Over 110,000 comments later, Walker finally ceded his argument. "Your sheer numbers have proved the point that libraries aren't as unpopular as I believed this morning. Please stop replying," he wrote. "I surrender."