There is much debate on whether we should keep our public libraries or not. Some feel it is a waste of time given the fact we have the world at our fingertips via the internet. Others feel we need to preserve our physical books, newspapers, magazines and so forth in the event we lose the ability to access the internet. In the following paragraphs I will touch on both sides of the equation and you can make up your own mind.
Only online can you search for exact answer to your question and you do not have to pilfer through endless amounts of resources that you do not need or want, plus the fact it saves a ton of time when you don’t have to sit for hours flipping through pages. Most people tend not to read articles and such all the way through anymore as our attention spans have shortened, so Google is a win win.
Digital books and resources reduce the weight one has to carry. For instance, the Kindle can hold a entire set of encyclopedias plus numerous book and magazines. This is not only beneficial to students but to the elderly, disabled and so on. The ease of the weight being reduced makes books more portable in hard to reach places which is a huge plus. If you want to go on a long hike or climb to the top of Mt.Everest and decide you want to read then you sure do not want to be carrying a load of books in your backpack.
It is wonderful that people with social, mental and physical disabilities have had the burden of depending on going to the public library removed from them. There is no longer a need for someone to have to go to the library when they stay in the comfort of their own home and safe space for so many. The digital libraries have created a pathway for these individuals that otherwise would have made it impossible for them to make a trip to the local library.
There are still some types of research that have online gaps which are only filled by physical sources such as books, maps, newspapers and so forth. Many genealogists and historians tend to still rely on the print they can only find in the public libraries. An example is the genealogy department of the local libraries have documents provided by families and local historians which cannot be found through any other source. If the libraries close than all these documents will be lost forever.
The library also provides refuge from noise and distractions which leads to a more productive work and learning environment. People can go to meet groups to study with or help tutor those who have a need.
Amazing as it sounds, 30% of the populace remains without internet so the public library provides use of computers and the internet free of charge to those who otherwise have no access. Our schools are requiring more work to be done on the computer which can be done at the local library, plus a student can get help from a librarian on a technical issue and such that they couldn’t get at a friends house or their own home.
Everyone has their own opinions and I am not here to tell you that you are right or wrong. I believe each individual has a right to hold their own views. With that being said I will tell you I am on the fence.
However I do admit I no longer have any need for the library at the present time. I do enjoy the library and have very fond memories of the trips I took my children on when they were growing up to the library. I tried to maintain bi weekly visits with them to check out new books and sometimes had the librarians help the kids find books she thought they would like based on their preferences.
I found it nice not having to store all these printed books at my own home but knowing I could just go on down to the library and check them out. Also our little home town library did a live kids reading on the weekends and held several workshops for all kinds of interest. I felt they provided a space for human reaction that so many people needed who felt isolated and alone which one can not fill that type of need through a screen. Finally, I feel we need to try to retain and preserve physical evidence of our existence and history in the event we face a post-apocalyptic era.
In closing I would like to add that in the time I have taken to write this I now feel nostalgic, and feel a need to visit my local library; plus, you can’t reproduce that wonderful smell of the pages online!