I came across this video from Library Ireland Week.
Library Ireland Week
It got me thinking about today's libraries. Our school and community libraries are really in a state of transition. They want kids and adults alike to continue their love of reading yet what reading looks like is really changing. As reading becomes increasingly digital, how do libraries (or media centers, if you prefer) provide literature, research resources, and etc... in a format that people want? Do we still need brick buildings to provide them. Many libraries have robust websites for reserving books, doing research, downloading ebooks, etc..., but at what point, if ever, do we cease to need a place to go.
I know, I can hear many people arguing that the library is also a community space and we need to bring people together. When I visit the library (Yes, I go often!), I often see tutoring, meetings, collaborating, sharing, and librarians helping people. I love the collaborative spaces that libraries provide and would hate to see this disappear. But as someone who increasingly reads electronically, what is the value of large spaces that provide books? Will these spaces transition to smaller meeting spaces that facilitate learning and research? How can we support our libraries in making this transition?
I know that my kids love going to both the school and community library. There is an excitement around being surrounded by learning. Some might argue it is about being surrounded by books. I don't know the answer, but I suspect that this is not the case. I think it is much broader than that. I think they are excited about being surrounded by information, in whatever format it takes. How great that all people, no matter what their economic background, have the opportunity to be surrounded by knowledge. That they can reach out and grab it and take it home with them.
I would love to hear from others about what libraries need to do, if anything, to help with this transition to a more digital society.