Why Public Libraries Remain Vital

Library

Do we still need public libraries?  This is a very important question.  Last year, the New York Times examined  this issue.  Ironically, the Times did not find anyone in favor of closing libraries.

While  few support their closure, some individuals view public libraries as archaic.  We live in the digital age and technology provides answers instantly.  Users are just one click away from the information they seek.  Public libraries are falling behind and are becoming obsolete.

On the other side of this story, public library supporters argue for their relevancy.  There is a large percentage of Americans which share this perspective.  According to recent study produced by Pew, Americans are crazy about libraries.  The Atlantic parsed out some of the results published by this survey.  Among the findings:

  • In comparison to other American institutions, public libraries are more popular than baseball or apple pie.
  • Some 94 percent of individuals say that public library improves a community and the local library is a “welcoming, friendly place.”
  • Also, 91 percent said they had never had a bad experience while using the resources in a public library.

Public libraries play a vital role in today’s society.  There are some individuals that do not own a laptop, tablet or smart phone.  For this segment of society, public libraries provide a bridge in using important tools such as technology and literature.  Also, libraries provide a forum for important discussions and classes which encourage lifelong learning.

Speaking of education, no one can dispute the importance of Google or Apple.  Yet, librarians have the background to provide the correct answers beyond the search engine results.  In a world that needs more context, public libraries remain invaluable.

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3 thoughts on “Why Public Libraries Remain Vital

  1. We live in a world where you need the internet to pay your bills, find an apartment, look for a job, and perform basic life functions. Public libraries perform the role of an equalizer in bridging the digital divide.

    Libraries aren’t going away anytime soon, they’re just evolving and becoming more digital.

  2. Agreed. It’s been a real struggle for public libraries in recent years. Public libraries want to provide patrons with the best resources. Unfortunately, funding for public libraries has been a real struggle. It is remarkable they are meeting the needs of the public given their limitations.

  3. It’s an ongoing struggle for libraries to transform their image in the eyes of the public, even when many of them offer meaty, expensive research full-text databases as a service.

    I am by training and career-wise a librarian..over 25 years spent in government and corporate libraries.

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