Today I am going to discuss an interesting topic related to libraries.
In a wake of various technologies like personal computers, Internet, smart phones and other gadgets there is an argument that traditional libraries are no longer necessary.
Technological advancements have made libraries unnecessary. This is the thesis we hear today.
It may seem the more we use online and electronic devices to get the information instantly or almost straight away the less we need library to go for that.
However I’d argue against this.
I have been an avid library visitor since 7 years old. My grandmother worked in a library and I spent days there being on school holidays. Then at high school and university I still saw a lot of demand for library services.
Today the necessity for libraries doesn't seem to decrease despite of significant rise in technology.
I think it is because of two main reasons:
1. New technologies allow to extend library offerings making them more attractive than before.
Communication technologies make possible for libraries to create online catalogs, Web sites and mobile applications so people can search and reserve the books and magazines they are after
Example, when I travel to work by ferry there is a mobile library truck at the wharf with books anyone can borrow when they commute. New technology allows people to check what books are available and pre-order as they go.
New media types add to paper-based products that libraries offer to share.
Example, when I visit library I see heaps of multimedia, video, games, movies and other material in addition to traditional publications.
This makes libraries more attractive, because they provide more services to the public.
2. Libraries are still important for the purpose of sharing information that is only available on paper.
There is a lot of old books, special interest books, magazines etc. that even in our current technologically advanced time only available on paper.
Example, I am interested in reading some books that were not published recently and are not planned to be scanned into electronic form. Therefore the only option is to get it in the library.
People go to library to spend time there or take home a paper book or a magazine that make them feel more satisfied with the process.
Example, I personally don’t really care about the paper, but I know many people even in my network who prefer paper books.
So we may have different opinions on how technology influence the way we work with various types of information, but what we can see is that in regards to libraries - technology extend their offerings of services to the public and libraries are still important for sharing information that is not always available with new technologies.
Therefore we can’t say that technological advancements have made libraries unnecessary.