Wednesday, 13 December 2017
Friday, 8 December 2017
"I don't have to look far to find treasures, I discover them every time I visit a library."-Michael Embry
There is romanticism to the imagery of libraries as hallowed temples of learning, protected from the ephemeral nature of the digital age. Many people seem to believe that the digital age is about to render libraries and all of those hard copy books on the bookshelves useless. Yes, it is true that you can discover almost anything you could imagine from the internet...the key word in that sentence is "almost." But there are still things that libraries and librarians can offer for us that typing a few things into Google on our smartphones and laptops cannot.
1. Libraries offer much more than many people even realize
Libraries are no longer just about walking in and checking out a book and being on your way. Libraries also offer things like computer and internet access, access to printers and fax machines, audiobooks, DVDs, and some even offer computer classes and special activities for children to get them more involved in reading.
As reported by the National Archives research, libraries reach a much broader range of age groups and social backgrounds compared to other types of cultural activities. Consequently, the library represents something different for each one of us. It can be a peaceful place for insightful work for professionals, a playground for families or even an information point for those with limited resources and much more. Still, there is one aspect everyone agrees on: the library is a neutral and secure public space.
2. Libraries are FREE
This is one instance where the word "free" actually means free as long as you return whatever you borrow on time and in good condition. Yes, you can go online and purchase whatever book you are looking for, but why do that when you can borrow and read it for free? All of those things I just mentioned above are offered to anyone who chooses to walk in those doors. This can be incredibly helpful for people with a limited income who may not have access to these things at home. It doesn't matter who you are or what your financial situation is. As soon as you walk into a library, you are treated the same as everyone else and have the same opportunities as everyone else.
3. Librarians are extremely helpful
Can't find something you're looking for? I bet your librarian can find it for you in a heartbeat. Have a question? I bet your librarian either has the answer or will go out of their way to find the answer for you. They are there to help you, all you have to do is ask. No Software can replace the expertise of a librarian.
4. Libraries are becoming technology hubsAs the Internet becomes the main vehicle for people to get information, the tradition of a building stuffed with books is less relevant to our modern lives. As a result, libraries are transforming themselves into technological spaces. When looking at technology use in libraries, the Pew Research Internet Project found that patrons are increasingly thinking of libraries as community spaces that allow access to technology and as a source of digital literacy for various demographics.
5. Finding books on a shelf
Printed books still dominate reading, despite the growth of e-books. Yes, I do own a Kindle Fire, and yes, I do enjoy reading on it...but I still enjoy reading hard copies of books and sometimes I actually prefer it. There is something to be said for holding an actual book in your hand. Plus, when you go to a library and search for a specific book on a shelf, you never know what else you might actually find. You could find the book you were searching for, and also find a book that looks even more interesting to you right next to it.
The number of e-book uses in growing, but not to the extent that electronic books have replaced printed versions. While the percentage of adults who are reading e-books is growing, simultaneously, print book reading is also growing as are adults listening to audio books. The popularity of e-books is rising, but print remains the foundation of many people’s reading habits. This trend is expected to change as-reader ownership expands, but the love affair with an actual book isn’t expected to vanish completely.
6. How can you be sure what you are reading online is true?
It is true, the internet can provide you with information on basically anything you want to know...but the internet is also full of fake articles and news sites. A simple search on Google or Bing can bring up multiple different responses for the same subject. Some of these are written by professionals who actually know what they are talking about, but some are also written by people who may not know as much about what they are talking about and are just voicing their personal opinions. It can often be hard to differentiate who is who. I myself have experienced how extremely difficult this can be if you are researching for a school project or a paper you have to turn in for a grade. How do you know that all of this information is actually true? If you are looking for reliable information, a library is probably your best bet. In a library, you will find reference and non-fiction sections which contain factual information that is written, edited, and published by professionals in that specific field of study.