Once upon a time, if you wanted to learn a substantial amount about a particular topic, the only place to gain that knowledge was your local library. As technology changed, so did the demand for libraries. Today, there is a fair amount of people who might argue that libraries are completely obsolete and unnecessary. However, there are still some devoted readers who argue that libraries are an absolutely integral part of a community. So, are libraries still important? We think they are, and here are a few reasons why.
At one point in time, the quickest and easiest way to read a book you didn’t already own was to check it out at your local library. Today, we all know that the internet provides countless volumes of books that don’t cost anything. And in terms of research, the internet returns faster results than libraries ever could. However, it’s important to consider that today’s libraries provide more than just a book. They serve as a major source of educational materials and community services that you can’t always find online.
For instance, you can find videos and directions online for everything from building a coffee table to making cakes. Some libraries take things a step further and actually rent out power tools and kitchen supplies. Libraries also provide services to the community by renting out conference rooms and equipment needed for group presentations. Most community libraries offer weekly activities for citizens of all ages, from weekly storytime for toddlers to computer classes for seniors. In short, today’s libraries are more than just a place to find books—they’re true learning centers that focus on education as their main product, and not just books.
Here’s another little fact that might be a little hard to believe: 15 percent of Americans don’t have access to the internet in their own homes. Libraries provide free internet access for community members. Some libraries even offer mobile Wi-Fi hotspot devices that patrons can check out for up to a year at a time. It just further cements libraries’ commitment to what they’ve always been about: education and the pursuit of knowledge.
As you’ve seen, libraries aren’t these antiquated places with nothing but shelves full of dusty books (although that’s exactly why many of us still love libraries). They’re true community service centers that still provide valuable information and amenities, and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.