We live in a digital age where technology has changed how we navigate information. That also includes expansion of our research potential. With the access to the internet, one can find almost any information they would like, online.
We have even reached a point where people have their CVs/ bios, online. Now, this begs the question, are libraries obsolete? Though, we may not need to put little card pockets at the back of books, or use card catalogs as often; libraries play an essential role in the community.
The same can be said about typing services. The next question would be; why do we need libraries in this age?
1. They are keepers of our stories
Have you ever looked up specific information on the internet, and couldn’t find something that answers your question? It happens, and many times. The authors of the book, “Our Towns,” James and Deborah Fallows, describe libraries as one of the core institutions of prosperous cities.
They came to this conclusion after they traveled across America, to different towns, in search of success stories after the recession. Without a story, we do not have a future, and libraries act as keepers of these stories. It comprises of imagined and real stories.
2. Distinguish between fact and fake information
In the online world, both propaganda and facts can spread like wildfire. As long as the piece of information convinces one person, they can influence another to believe it too, and the news spreads far and wide.
It is an important role to play since all information we have is meaningless if we cannot distinguish what is right and what isn’t.
3. It allows for chance encounters
We cannot deny, that it’s easier to get distracted when using online platforms than spending time at the library. As you browse the shelves of the library, there’s a higher chance of coming across an unexpected gem that peeks your interest.
Also, in the library space, no one judges you depending on your choices. It is an open space that allows you to “be.” You can even search for convert handwritten notes to text, and no one will question your motivation.
4. Reading print copies allows for deep reading
When reading a digital copy of a material, one tends to move towards non-linear reading. In that, you start skimming or let your eyes dart around the page. Depending on how often you read through digital media, you risk losing the part of the brain that allows for in-depth reading.
On the other hand, reading print copies actives our brain’s linear reading function. It helps us to immerse ourselves in the content of the material. It is so because, when reading a book or a screen, we use different parts of the brain.
We shouldn’t confuse those who advocate for the significant role that public libraries play in our society as technological skeptics. Most libraries offer free wifi to users and are developing innovative services that enhance the experience of people, in using the library, on-site or virtually.
So, yes, we still need libraries even in the digital era.