Libraries are a funny business. In many ways, they are an old relic from a long since past era where books were important. You might argue that today books are no longer relevant. After all, you can get all the same information online. In fact, as we know, the internet can provide accurate up to date information within seconds of it being published. So, you might be reading a book about the state of US law. But, the fact is that US law changes on a daily basis. So you’ll never be truly up to date with the facts if you rely purely on the type of books you’d find in a library. Does that mean that we don’t need libraries anymore?
On the contrary, libraries are provided by the government as a free source of information. Although you may think of it as a free resource, the internet is not actually free. There are many people across the country and the world who can not afford to pay for an internet service. For these individuals, a library is the only chance they have to get information for studies and school. Okay, so libraries are still important, but they do need to evolve if they are to stay relevant. Luckily, that process has already begun.
If you head into a library today or tomorrow, you might be surprised to learn that they are no longer the dusty, dreary places they once were. Instead, they have modern contemporary designs, bright colours, new furniture and yes even computers. We’ll get to the computers a little further down. For now, let’s think about the actual design. If libraries are to survive, they need to feel modern, and this is particularly important in public arenas like schools. Students need to see a library as a comfortable, fun, friendly place to work. If you have checked out any recent school library design case studies, you will see the type of changes that have been made. They are quite impressive and will certainly encourage students to stop by for a book or two.
There is also the matter of new tech being added to libraries. It started with computers, laptops and tablets. Now, there are also scanners that can be used to transport the writing on pages to the digital realm. This allows visitors to still read books but access the information they want far more quickly on computers. We also suspect that in a few years, libraries will be a place where you find the most VR tech. VR tech is perfectly primed to be part of a learning experience. And, what better place for VR than a building where peace and quiet is the name of the game?
Staff That Care
We have to stray from the idea that anyone can be a librarian. A librarian should have a profound level of knowledge and passion for art and literature. Again, this is particularly important in the education arena. If we want to encourage kids to get back into the library and start reading, we need to make sure that there is someone there to show them the way.
If libraries continue to change in these ways, they will survive even with our new social focus on technology.