Once upon a time libraries were seen as treasure troves, repositories of rare books and an abode for religious groups, scholars and the wealthy. Indeed, books were regarded as so valuable they had to be chained to lecterns in order to prevent theft. (Thank God for RFID tags now right) 🙂
Yet, with the advancement of technology and the rise of the Google empire, persons rely on their phones, personal computers and other devices to find the information that they require. Thus, some government officials and administrative groups have continued to cut library budgets on an annual basis, even with some libraries eventually closing their doors.
Can you imagine if everyone was plugged in and no one paid attention to anything else, besides what was on their phones and other devices? In my opinion, that would create a socially awkward society, since persons would not be able to relate to others outside of screens. According to Barth, “communication technology is a central fixture within our society and has radically changed individuals’ social interaction, learning strategies and choice of entertainment” (201). Yet, while there can be positives to the use of technology and social networking applications, those in authority shouldn’t undermine the importance of libraries, in comparison to the usage of technology.
In that way libraries can still be regarded as treasure troves, not only of books and other media, but also as a place for one to find unique social experiences. Which is definitely possible when libraries around the world are able to create out of the box ideas that both engage and inspire others in order to pave the way for success. One such library that I have always admired is the Ann Arbor District Library, which usually has some great initiatives. For example, they recently closed submissions for their annual “It’s All Write” (love the play on words) teen writing contest where teens from different grade levels were asked to submit their short stories, which would be judged by young adult authors. Such an initiative is a great way to motivate young adults to be creative, as well as, brave enough to put their work out there for others to see.
So with the words “It’s All Write” dancing in my head I am hoping that many more government and administrative bodies would see the importance of libraries, even in the age of technological advancement, and stop keeping those purse strings so tight in order to breather some life into more libraries and aid in producing informed, creative and socially developed individuals.
Barth, F. (2015). Social Media and Adolescent Development: Hazards, Pitfalls and Opportunities for Growth. Clinical Social Work Journal, 43(2), 201-208. doi:10.1007/s10615-014-0501-6