Libraries needed more than ever

More than a year ago, I wrote of my enjoyment of having an e-reader. I still enjoy it very much.
The advent of e-books has had a lasting impact of book paper producers around the world as readers have adopted this new technology.
People have claimed that electronic books will lead to the decline of libraries throughout much of the world. However, the creation of e-books has made libraries more important to communities than ever.
As we have watched technologies change in the last two decades, we have learned that digital archives created in the 1980s and 1990s today no longer can be accessed. The newer technology can’t read or access those old files.
We still can access those files if they were produced on paper or on microfilm. We know that microfiche is not as long lasting as is microfilm, and we know that paper has been recording the acts of man for more than 2,000 years.
The storage of those files, and the recording of the histories of communities across the world, are found in the libraries of peoples around the world.
A recent library study from Texas, produced by the University of Texas in December, found that for every $1 invested in public libraries in the state, Texans received $4.42 worth of library services in return value.
It proved that libraries provide economic benefits to the communities in which they are found.
An unintended consequence of the closure of bookstores across North America has prompted a surge in demand of best-sellers at libraries. With there tracking systems, libraries now are acting on the demands of patrons to stock more of those best-sellers.
Of course, when demand subsides, many of those titles are sold off. Just as stores have limited shelf space, so do libraries and libraries today are adapting by changing their inventory following the trends of their customers.
One of the great joys of visiting the library is discovering a new author. It only can happen where there are collections to wander through.
The Pew Research Centre released a study Jan. 17 which found that 80 percent of Americans said book borrowing was a very important library service, and that 77 percent said the same thing about computers and the Internet.
More than half of those surveyed by the Pew Research Center said they wanted more e-book selections in their libraries. More said they would like to try new technology devices through their libraries while 63 percent said they would like to receive customized book and music recommendations from their libraries.
Our libraries are preserving an atmosphere of learning. Though the technology may change, Matthew Battles, a fellow at the Berkman Centre for Internet and Society at Harvard University, noted, “Libraries constitute archaeologies of knowledge, reflecting not only cultural memory but also changing import of information, learning, and literary expression in different times and places.”
We need our libraries more than ever.

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