The written word is as old as civilization itself. From the Great Library of Alexandria that was founded in 300 B.C. to today’s establishments, libraries have existed in some form for thousands of years. When the digital age took hold, many people believed libraries would fall by the wayside. Instead, they have adapted to the digital world and are perhaps more important than ever before.
They Share Information
The rise of the internet has made it easier to find the information you need exactly when you need it. Libraries have adapted by creating programs and joining existing ones that share information not only between libraries around the world but also from some of the most valuable organizations and resources on the planet. One such resource is the Information for All Programme. Created by the United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, it provides an online connection to more than 25,000 titles from libraries all over the globe.
They Create Apps
“There’s an app for that” and your local library is probably no exception. More than half of the population now accesses information primarily via smartphones or tablets and use mobile applications to keep track of their favorite social media websites, stores, and even their local libraries. In most cases, library apps offer several options. Users can search for the nearest physical location, keep track of items they’ve borrowed or want to borrow, receive notifications when the library releases new materials and even borrow audio, video, and e-book titles directly from their devices.
They Employ Technology Buffs
Working at a library used to require a degree in library science. Many people still choose to get a library science degree, but earning one is no longer a requirement. Many libraries now hire graduates of varying programs if they are technologically savvy. Typically, these employees provide support. They may help patrons find information on the internet, teach them how to search the web more effectively, or troubleshoot mobile devices.
The possibilities are far-reaching when it comes to the types of degrees accepted by libraries. For example, USC offers a degree in communications that teaches students to communicate effectively and develop leadership skills, both of which are highly sought in library employees.
They Build Innovative Programs
Libraries around the world are creating innovative programs to keep people interested in services and provide the best information possible. USC online has outlined some of them, such as the ASK-NYPL service provided by the New York Public Library. ASK-NYPL allows patrons to email, call, or text librarians with their questions about services or even to ask for research help. Free service includes answers to basic questions but patrons who need more help can get it for a fee.
Regardless of whether you use the internet as little as possible or hours each day, one thing is certain: it will never replace a good, not-so-old-fashioned library. If you haven’t been to your local branch in a while, perhaps it’s time to check it out and see what new gems you find among the shelves — physical and virtual alike.