GRE Argument Essay 23

In the Bayhead Public Library, books that are rarely borrowed continue to take up shelf space year after year, while people who want to read a recent novel frequently find that the library’s only copy is checked out. Clearly, the library’s plan to replace books that are borrowed no more than once a year with sufficient copies of more recent books will solve this problem. The protest we have heard since this plan was made public has come from a small, and thus unrepresentative, group of some thirty people and so should therefore be ignored.

The given argument states that a sufficient number of recent novels are not available in the Bayhead Public Library, whereas the number of books that are rarely borrowed is quite high and they take up a lot of shelf space. The arguer draws the conclusion that replacing books that are borrowed rarely in the Bayhead Public Library with sufficient copies of more recent books is a solution to the problem that recent novels are unavailable for the readers. The first reading of the given argument sounds quite convincing, but a subsequent careful reading leads to the identification of several flaws that make the argument sound unconvincing. These flaws have been discussed in the succeeding paragraphs.

The argument fails to draw a relation between the two different problems being faced by the Bayhead Public Library. The first problem is that there is insufficient shelf space in the library and the second problem is that there are a less number of recent novels and so sometimes readers find that the only copy of a recent novel has been issued out. The argument fails to convince the reader that both these problems can have a common solution. Buying additional copies of recent novels may be a good solution to the second problem, but replacing the books that are rarely borrowed cannot be termed as a suitable solution to the problem of insufficient shelf space. The reason for this is that a library should house a large variety of books. A library cannot cater only to a small section of society who read popular novels. It has to keep in mind the requirements of the entire society as a whole.

The very fact that a section comprising of 30 people have protested to the proposed solution proves the fact that the books are indeed in demand and it would be a grave mistake to remove them from the library. Also, there is likelihood that there may be more people who are not open to the solution that has been proposed but they are not vocal in their protests. Therefore, it is quite likely that these 30 people may succeed in initiating a mass protest once the proposal is actually implemented leading to a loss of reputation for the Bayhead Public Library. Therefore, one cannot afford to ignore the protests being made by these 30 people.

Moreover, the arguer has not considered other options for increasing shelf space like buying new shelves or constructing an additional room or shelf in the library premises. In the absence of a discussion on the feasibility of implementing such a construction, the given solution fails to sound convincing. Additionally, the arguer could have explored other options like replacing books that have not been borrowed for the last decade or more instead of the proposed one year. There could also have been a mention of removing additional copies of books that are not borrowed frequently and leave some copies of the same for people who may need them at some time or the other. This would have also laid the protests made the 30 people to rest. In the absence of such strong evidence the claim made by the argument is very weak and hence the argument fails to convince a reader.