In 2018, Forbes received backlash regarding an op-ed article they published about why Amazon should be replacing libraries. If anything, this showed the need the public has for libraries to stick around. This instance brought into perspective all of the great things libraries bring to people of all backgrounds and all over the world. Here is why libraries are here to stay in 2019 and beyond:
The Variety of Books at Libraries is Unmatched
Libraries are almost like a curation system for all the things you might need to know under one roof. No, it doesn’t replace the speed of the internet. There is something about being able to comb shelves to find massive books on a topic you are learning about that is unmatched by an internet search. Often, the internet articles don’t dive in deep like books do. This is a reason you will want to conduct research both online and at a library. There is unmatched information on those shelves.
The library is also a great way to find inspiration for books. There are shelves with top check outs and other features that make a library special. You can find anything from a killer fantasy series you have never heard of to a pile of books on Antarctica. There is no shortage of variety and books on things you have never thought of. The internet doesn’t put all the books in front of you—it often only displays the popular books and the books you directly search for.
Books Hold a Credibility that Can’t be Found on Some Places on the Internet
The thing about books is that you can find a pile of books with so much information. On the internet, you might do search after search and only find the same four books popping up. The limits of information at libraries is different from the internet. Both are valuable and people who go to libraries often see that.
For example, if you are writing a research paper on Harry Truman, you can find books on a shelf at a library spanning time periods. Online, you might only be able to get a Google search for the most recent Harry Truman book. You also might find some articles that brush the surface. Others who are searching Harry Truman online, will see the exact same search results. The library gives you endless opportunity of facts and different references. Also, when looking at physical books, you can trust the information more. The information was published with intent and passed through multiple editors. Online, there is often a quick editing and writing process that is great, but maybe not as detailed and perfected as you are looking for.
With that being said, the internet is a complete asset and knows so much, but so are libraries. The world won’t lose sight of the value they bring, regardless of technological innovation.
Libraries Offer More than Just Books
One of the main reasons libraries will stay relevant is because of all the resources they provide. Libraries have so many educational opportunities that are unmatched elsewhere. For example, they offer after-school programs for children whose parents can’t pick them up immediately after school. They offer educational readings from authors of books and special readings for children books as well. Libraries offer a way to get excited about learning that can stick with attendees for their whole life.
Libraries also bring a lot to the table when looking at data bases and educational resources. You can go to the library to go to seminars on computer skills and other skills. This gives people without the means to pay for classes the chance to learn for free.
Libraries also have study rooms that are the holy grail for college students of all types. Libraries are a place where you can go to have some peace and solitude while learning, reading or just thinking. The atmosphere and history of libraries are what make them special to all ages.
Libraries are a Safe Space for the Homeless and Other Underserved Populations
In the United States, libraries are extremely important when looking at the homeless population. These are places they can go for computer access, shelter and learning opportunities. In some suburban areas, libraries partner with transportation systems to offer programs for members of the homeless population to head to job interviews etc. Libraries also sometimes offer resume workshops and job fairs for those looking to improve their situation. This service is unmatched at other organizations, which is a reason many are passionate about what libraries do for the public. Their intentions are to educate and help people in any way they can.
With all of this being said, libraries have the public in mind and won’t be going anywhere in 2019 and beyond.