With the press of a button or a few taps on a screen, an abundance of free and affordable electronic reading material is available instantly. So you might wonder how libraries, filled with stacks and stacks of dusty books, can possibly compete in our digital age.
It’s simple—your local library has evolved in exciting, new ways! Check out the up-to-the-minute offerings found at many of today’s modern libraries.
Libraries Today: The Cutting Edge Of Reading And Research
Although physical visits to local libraries are on the decline, the use of library materials and resources has actually increased, according to the American Library Association. Many libraries have added e-book rentals to their repertoire so patrons can rent e-books from the comfort of their homes.
Many people have go to their local libraries to use the computer and Internet. Some libraries are stocking up on laptops and e-readers for community members who want access to the latest technology but don’t own their own devices.
Many libraries are also relaxing their strict “silence is golden” rule to encourage more socializing and exploration through technology displays, arts and cultural exhibits, book clubs, and more.
Libraries Of The Future: We Can’t Wait To See What Happens!
With the amazing amount of information available through Internet searches, fewer people need a librarian’s help finding the right reference books. But many readers are having trouble navigating the explosion of new e-books and e-magazines, websites, and online content.
With so much new material being made available every day, librarians are poised to become society’s information hubs. Ten years ago, the reference librarian would have helped you find scholarly articles for your school paper; in the not-too-distant future, he or she might help you choose the best website for downloading indie e-books.
If we take a cue from BiblioTech, a totally bookless library in San Antonio, Texas, libraries of the future will increasingly embrace technology. Instead of bookshelves, BiblioTech has media rooms and stations for rentable laptops and e-readers.
And this tech-savvy library seems to have its virtual finger on the pulse of tomorrow’s readers. BiblioTech runs a fun blog and hosts an e-book club that timed the reading of the popular YA novel Divergent to coincide with the movie release.
But don’t think all libraries of the future will abandon print books. Book-filled libraries are already evolving and providing new services and social environments. Librarians are becoming technology tutors, helping the public learn how to use increasingly complicated computer systems. The libraries that do lend e-reader devices sometimes offer a variety of models, and librarians are able to guide patrons to the best e-reader to suit their needs—something we used to only see in tech stores.
We can expect that libraries will continue to change and innovate as they find their new place in our digital world. As libraries make the transition, some struggle to stay relevant and receive adequate funding. But a full 90 percent of Americans age 16 and older reported to the Pew Research Center that closing their local library would negatively impact the surrounding community. So you may be teleporting to visit your state-of-the-art information center—your library!
Photo by tomdz
QUESTION: What role do you hope libraries will play in the future?