If you’ve spent any time on the internet or in the realm of popular culture, you’ve probably heard about the “end of libraries as we know them”. The concept of the library seems to be under attack from all quarters, with many people claiming that we’re living in the “library extinction” phase. Those who make such claims tend to focus on the negative, e.g., that libraries are closed, not accepting new patrons, etc. But, as it happens, none of those things are changing. Instead, they’re indicative of the fact that libraries are adapting and evolving to keep pace with the needs of their patrons. So, if you’re worried about the end of libraries as we know them, don’t be. The reality is that they’re still very much here, and they’re only getting more relevant with time.
What is a Library?
A library is a building that houses books and other media. Libraries are generally either public or private.
Libraries Have Always Been Relevant
If you think about it, libraries have always been relevant. Sure, the way we use them and what we expect from them may be changing, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less important. In fact, with the rise of digitization and the ever-growing popularity of eBooks, I think libraries are more relevant now than ever before. The argument for libraries goes back to ancient Greece as well. Plato was a firm believer in the idea that a democracy could only exist when its citizens were educated.
Part of that education? Libraries! Today, many people don’t realize how important libraries are—especially when it comes to children’s literacy rates. It’s been proven time and time again that those who read have higher levels of intelligence than those who don’t. Libraries provide free access to books and other reading materials so that people can continue their education at all stages of life. Libraries also serve as a public forum where people can meet one another anonymously if they want to do so–a place where we can connect with others freely without judgment or fear of repercussion.
In short: in this postmodern world where everything is transient and disposable, the library is still an enduring institution because of its multifaceted purpose–one which will only become more significant in the future as our society continues to evolve toward new forms of knowledge acquisition and dissemination.
Libraries are a Way to Share Culture
The reality is that, while libraries have changed over time, they’ve always been a place to share culture. Even at the height of the printing press and other media, people still came to the library for information that couldn’t be printed or shared online. Modern libraries are no different in this way. Many libraries now offer tools like free Wi-Fi and computers with internet access as well as books, movies, and more.
One example of just how relevant modern libraries are comes from Chicago Public Library’s website: “There are thousands of databases available on our website alone including newspapers, magazines, books, journals, and much more. Our databases include full-text scholarly articles from academic publishers such as Oxford University Press and Springer Nature along with reliable local news sources like The Chicago Tribune or The Sun-Times.” This is just one example of how modern libraries are adapting to serve their patrons’ needs better than ever before.
That same site also offers job listings so that patrons can find employment opportunities in their area—another great resource for those seeking new employment opportunities. Libraries may not be what you think they are if you haven’t visited one lately!
Libraries Help Build Community
Libraries are integral to the fabric of a community. Countless studies have been done on the importance of libraries and their impact on communities, both online and offline. In 2013, the Pew Research Center conducted a study on what people value in their libraries. The survey found that 84% of respondents said they valued being able to find the information they needed. Another 78% said they valued the public spaces that offered an opportunity for members of different generations and backgrounds to gather. An overwhelming majority also agreed that libraries are important social hubs for communities: 89% said that when people come together in libraries, it provides a place for everyone in the community to solve problems together.
Libraries Provide Information
Libraries provide information. Libraries have a wealth of knowledge, and they share it with their patrons. There is no shortage of books in most libraries, so you’ll be able to find the information that you need when you need it. You could also check out DVDs and audio cassettes from your library, which will give you access to even more information to help support your interests.
Libraries Are a Place to Expand Perception
Libraries are a place to expand your perception of the world and gain a greater understanding of it. We have books on every conceivable topic, movies and documentaries about all sorts of subjects, and multimedia resources for learning that go beyond the scope of anyone subject. If you want to learn something new, get an idea for what you should do next, or just explore the world with no direction in mind, libraries are the place for you.
Libraries Are Always Relevant
Libraries are a staple of society, and that won’t be changing anytime soon. From the beginning of their establishment, libraries have been tackling problems relevant to their communities and always adapting to provide what they need. They’ve always been open to new ideas and methods. The very idea of a library is evolving with time. Libraries are no longer just repositories for books—they now offer a range of resources like laptops, free programs, and classes that make them valuable community hubs. Rather than becoming extinct or irrelevant, libraries are an ever-evolving resource that adapts to the needs of society as it changes. It’s what they were designed to do from the start: serve humanity in all its stages of life from cradle to grave.