By John Palfrey
Libraries this day are extra very important than ever. greater than simply ebook repositories, libraries can develop into bulwarks opposed to essentially the most the most important demanding situations of our age: unequal entry to schooling, jobs, and information.
In BiblioTech, educator and know-how professional John Palfrey argues that any one looking to perform the twenty first century must know how to discover and use the tremendous shops of knowledge on hand on-line. And libraries, which play an important function in making those abilities and knowledge to be had, are in danger. with a view to live on our speedily modernizing international and dwindling executive investment, libraries needs to make the transition to a electronic destiny once possible—by digitizing print fabric and making sure that born-digital fabric is publicly to be had online.
Not all of those alterations might be effortless for libraries to enforce. yet as Palfrey boldly argues, those changes are very important if we are hoping to save lots of libraries and, via them, the yank democratic perfect.
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Additional resources for BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google
Libraries need to adapt to the changing information habits of their users. The problem is that these changes are happening very quickly for some and less quickly for others. Libraries serve a diverse range of patrons with a diverse set of practices, ranging from the most digitally savvy to the determinedly analog. We may think we know what all patrons want from libraries, but preferences are changing every year. Dynamism must be the watchword for libraries in a digital age. L ibraries are not alone among the institutions needing to make a massive transition to the digital age.
By the early part of the twentieth century, the traditional notion of the library as a “treasure chest” or “jewel box” to preserve knowledge for the select few had given way to a far more democratic mission. The library became a central point in a community—whether a small town or a big city, a small college or a grand research university—where anyone could pursue knowledge and skills, with the help of trained professionals. The jewel box model was largely replaced by the lively, open, exciting institution we can visit today, one that is tied directly to the community—and in turn, to the success of the democratic system.
But the facts make this approach untenable. The challenges in funding and support that libraries face every year, in every context, suggest that such wishful thinking is unwise. During this transition, librarians can’t immediately get rid of print in order to focus only on digital. Print and other analog formats are not disappearing. Some users continue to print out materials to read them, to carry them around, and to mark them up by hand. Others use printed copies of books as a starting point to begin their research, as they have in the past.