Can libraries last in the digital age

By Nicole West, Semesterz

It’s a question that has haunted book lovers for years, and it becomes more and more important as the years go by. Can libraries survive the digital age? Ten plus years ago, libraries were a staple of every town and provided an invaluable service for the residents of these towns. They were the perfect place to study, take out books, rent movies, and surf the web. Communities thrived, and libraries were at the heart of that.

However, since the advent of social media, and the evolution of the digital age, it’s clear that libraries are being used less and less. They seem to be much more of a commodity than they have ever been, and many libraries are shutting down all over the country. So, the question remains more pertinent than ever – do we think libraries will survive in the modern digital age? Here we will look at both sides of the coin, and you can reach your own conclusions from there.

Yes, they’ll be fine – people are traditionalists

[post_ads]Many people these days are traditionalists, and, though they enjoy technology and modernity, it’s also nice to have something a little more old-fashioned. These are the sorts of people who still buy paper books, as well as using Kindles. A lot of people enjoy the traditionalist feel of a library – a place to retreat to and enjoy free books, as well as access to a wealth of information. This doesn’t apply to everyone, and, of course, it’s a subjective point, but we think there will always be those who want to see libraries stay.

Yes, they’ll be fine – they are a great place to study

Despite what problems they might have faced in recent times, libraries are still an excellent place to study. They are quiet, there are plenty of study aids and resources, and you can access a wealth of information, including archives. If you are a student, there is no better place to study – except for possibly the pub! But no, for real, a library is the bastion of the student, and that’s why university libraries will endure through the years.

Forget it, their days are numbered – you can get information without having to leave home

One of the biggest problems libraries are facing these days is the fact that people can access information at the click of a button. There is so much you can find out online these days, that you don’t even really need to leave the house. And, let’s face it, the wealth of information available online is much greater than anything a library could provide. As such, many people are choosing the route of something like Bing or Google to help them with their research.


Forget it, their days are numbered – rise in e-reading

Instead of buying paperback and hardback books these days, people tend to gravitate toward Kindle and e-readers. The rise in popularity of ebooks and e-reading has had a big impact on libraries – why would people go there to find a book when they can download it in seconds? There are thousands of books on Kindle that can be bought free of charge as well. The rise in e-reading has seen a decline in the use of libraries and is one of the key reasons why they have been slowly dying out.

As you can see, there are some points that can support either side of the spectrum. Whether or not you feel libraries have a place in the digital age depends largely on your point of view, and what you feel about libraries. One thing is for certain, however, and that is that, if they are to succeed, libraries are going to need to evolve more and get with the times in order to attract and keep an audience.

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