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.