With technology growing faster every day, many might think that the library is becoming obsolete. However, there are many reasons why the library, as a space and resource, remains an important social institution still today.
“As technology advances it tends to leave those less fortunate behind, and those who can’t afford commodities giving them easy access to literature, turn to the library.”
Library use in England has fallen by over 30% since 2005, revealing a disturbing decline that might have many thinking that the library is a sinking ship. Still, while general use declines, user rates remain generally stable in poorer areas. This might be because libraries provide a classless institution to a society where those less privileged are easily overlooked. While many can look up whatever they so desire on their iPad or smartphone at a minute’s notice, this is not the case for everyone. As technology advances it tends to leave those less fortunate behind, and those who can’t afford commodities giving them easy access to literature turn to the library. A free resource for everyone, regardless of class, is something that is very much needed in today’s society. Many libraries even lend out e-books as well as offer access to computers and tablets in their locales.
“As a student, the library grants you access to expensive material you might not feel that you need on your private shelf, as well as a quiet workspace where distractions are few.”
The library also functions as a free space. It is a calm environment, and one where you can access help with your work or research. As a student, the library grants you access to expensive material that you might not feel you need on your private shelf, as well as a quiet workspace where distractions are few. You can often access a printer and copier, as well as articles and journals that are hard to find online. Many universities and schools also provide help services through their libraries, such as writing advice and math tutoring, free of charge.
Beside academic and literary resources, the library also has a cultural and social role in its community. Many libraries, like the Dublin City library, holds events and arranges meetings, such as adult choirs or reading clubs, for the general public. Bringing the community together, the library also often tries to preserve and provide information about a community’s history and culture, through lectures and workshops related to all aspects of life.
With all of this in mind, it is hard to see how the library could ever be a redundant or excessive institution in our society. When we see how it functions as a cornerstone is local communities, as well as a space for whoever might need one, it is hard not to appreciate the fact that it is still alive and kicking.