Today, I’ve posted a small question to https://academia.stackexchange.com/questions/124513/why-are-academic-libraries-public about library privatization. In short, I’ve asked why the academic library are getting so much money from the taxpayer and if it’s possible to transform them into for-profit companies. The question has become -7 downvotes so far. It seems, that the online website is not interested in discussing library privatisation at all. I would guess, it was not my fault, instead everyone who is asking about that topic would get lots of downvotes.
The problem with academic libraries is, that they are wonderful if the founding is ignored. The problem is, that the students on the one hand doesn’t have to pay a fee and at the same time a library is producing lots of costs for the rent of the building and buying all the books. And this money is payed by the government. It seems, that this kind of discussion is not wanted by liberians. It is comparable if we want to discuss with a postal service of the 18th century about postal privatization. They won’t even understand the question.
From a linguistic perspective my question was not that hard. Misunderstanding means not, that with my English something is wrong, but that on the other side the group pressure is too high. That means, if one of the users in the forum would take a look at the same numbers he would also gets downvotes.
I think the problem can be explained with historical reasons. Somewhere in the 19th century, the university was financed by the government and the assumption is, that this is true forever. That means, all the companies in the normal world (Apple, Google, Amazon and AT&T) have to think about business models and customers while a university is some kind of island which has endless money and can never go bankrupt. That means, the government founded universities are identifying themself with a higher social role which makes them superior to normal companies. If a normal for-profit company will make a mistake their share price will test out the bottom. If an academic library is not able to deliver a book or their costs run out of budget nothing will happen.
If we are treating university library alone it is not a big deal if some inefficiency is in the system. The problem is, that today’s universities are blocking other companies to enter the market. If hundred of gonverment founded libraries are available in the united states, it’s not possible to establish new libraries which are working as for-profit organization. As a result, the transformation of the united states into a knowledge economy is prevented and the students are poor educated. And this will become a problem for everybody.
Update In the last minute, the question was put on hold with the explanation that it is outside of the scope of the forum.