Friday, June 1, 2012

LIBRARIES: DYING OR EVOLVING?

Is the role that libraries play in society diminishing?

As an avid book reader and researcher, I have never been much of a patron of public libraries.  I buy most of the books I read, and subscribe to magazines. I used to take the kids to the library to check-out books occasionally, but over the past couple of years even that has waned. 

Libraries were the original internet, stacks and stacks of books, resource material, newspapers, audio books and other resources.  As a teenager, I will never forget the sense of awe that came over me the first time I entered the QE2 Library at MUN. So much knowledge under one roof! I did not know where to begin.

 I’d assumed that libraries were a dying breed with the rise of the internet offering people instant access to so much information. As well, stores like Chapters & Amazon have made books more available to the general public than ever before. 

My friend Nancy utilizes her library a great deal. She often asks me why I purchase so many books when you can red them for free at the library. 

Yesterday, during my lunch break, I crossed the parkway and ventured into the AC. Hunter Library at the Arts & Culture Centre. To my surprise, the place was buzzing with activity. A librarian told me that public libraries are being used as much, or more than ever before. 

She said that many people feel it is more environmentally friendly to take out books than purchase them. They feel the same way about newspapers and magazines. The library offers wireless internet, book clubs, meeting spaces and discussion groups. They have become very community oriented. 

I renewed my decades old library card, registered for wireless internet and am blogging from the periodical section during my lunch breaks. 

Libraries do not seem to be dying, they appear to be evolving. 

What do you think?

1 comment:

Nancy Crozier said...

Libraries - and librarians - have always adapted well to change. Witness the evolving "foundational beliefs" of UofT's Faculty of Information, where I earned my master's degree:

Information penetrates all aspects of our digitally-mediated society.
Information professionals need to understand the political, technological, and epistemological consequences of rapidly changing information practices.
Education of information professionals must therefore address issues of leadership and critical thinking, and engage in studies of fundamental concepts, theories, and practices.