Nowadays, we are extremely dependent on the internet for information in our daily lives. However, does that information always bring us the right answers? As you might know, search engines such as Google tend to provide us with information depending on our formulated questions or keywords, therefore the data we get is not always relevant. Instead, we should lean on libraries.
Libraries play a fundamental role in learning, where librarians and other resources and services help people to access information that they need. As Eli B. Martin says: “Because the internet is harder to sort through than a library catalog, there’s a strong case that a library’s core services are actually becoming much more important.”
In this post you will read about five concrete reasons why libraries are essential to have and why visitors appreciate them.
1. Libraries maintain history, and more importantly, truth
Since the ancient Roman Empire, libraries had a purpose to store different kinds of information, such as historical, literary, musical, military documents. Even though in the past 2,000 years many changes, and innovation have occurred, libraries have kept their main purpose to provide visitors with the information they are looking for and be certain about giving the truth. Regardless of the information visitors are looking for, they can easily access it through the help of skilled and well-trained librarians. Therefore, librarians have a significant role in public and academic libraries. Generally, their duties include collection-cataloging, development, reference services, building partnerships with educational institutions and providing instructional lecturers to visitors. However, as many communities know, librarians do this and so much more!
“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.” – Neil Gaiman
2. Libraries offer free educational resources
Public libraries play an important role in supporting education and literacy. They provide countless resources, such as educational materials, trainings, courses, scientific publications, etc. to visitors. Public libraries provide their services not only face-to-face, but some of them have also integrated e-learning. Furthermore, several published studies confirmed that public libraries had a tremendous importance in every community by providing various services for educational purposes. Nowadays, patrons enter public libraries to find what they will read next, to ask questions about job applications and resume writing or to fill out government forms, including tax and health insurance paperwork. All these questions are answered by highly skilled librarians without any charge.
3. Libraries help to build communities
People come to libraries not only looking for information, but also, for finding themselves and their communities. Mothers join baby story-times clubs, elderly people attend events and find ways to connect with people. While teenagers meet up in libraries with their study groups for teambuilding or school projects and readers discuss current events in the periodical’s rooms. In addition, libraries serve as community centers for diverse populations by supporting non-English speakers to help them integrate into the community. Hence, public libraries often collect books in different languages and hire librarians or staff who are multilingual. Furthermore, for artists and art enthusiasts, public libraries can provide a place to arrange exhibitions and to promote themselves. One of the biggest values to be mentioned is that public libraries provide access to the arts for all visitors, normally free of charge.
4. Libraries are transparent with all the services they provide
Privacy is a growing concern in society these days. Data tracking systems that collect, compare and share information might affect consumers’ trust. However, all the services provided in public libraries are focused on consumers and not solely on revenue. That is why libraries do not track your reading history or which trainings you went to. It is simply not in the field of their interest.
5. Libraries contribute to increasing economy
Because libraries are free to use for patrons, not so many people consider the role they play in the economy. Public libraries provide access to information about business planning, market research and finance opportunities for entrepreneurs who are looking for spaces to network, conduct research, use technology, and arrange meetings. Even though job requirements are changing fast, it is possible to upskill the workforce without spending enormous amounts of money. Technology in libraries can be innovative, offering access to expensive tolls, training and skills that otherwise would not be available for everyone.
All things considered, libraries play a fundamental role in a society. Public libraries provide resources and services for literacy and education to anyone in need or wanting access. They help individuals to expand their network and become a part of a community. Therefore, peoples’ need for libraries which serve as shared, community-centered spaces that help them find information and connect them with others is unlikely going to change any time soon.