The library is a cornerstone and sustainer of democracy.
Posts Tagged ‘importance of libraries’
“Why do we need libraries when there’s the Internet?” For those that work in the library industry, it’s an unfortunately familiar question. Despite the many ways in which libraries have evolved to embrace community, innovation, and technology, many outdated perceptions still remain. In 2014, a group of Colorado library marketers and directors decided it was time to tackle this issue head-on. The result of this collaboration is Outside the Lines, a grassroots initiative that is helping to shift perceptions of libraries everywhere.
Tucked away in the basement an adobe home in the rural Panjwai District in Afghanistan is small one-room library. It has two shelves of about sixteen hundred books and magazines, a collection that has been largely developed through donations from around the world. The library gets about five visitors a day, but to twenty-two-year-old Matiullah Wesa, “five visitors in the village are more important than 100 in the city.”
It’s not just the number of patrons who walk through the doors or the number of books borrowed that matters. The library is about cultivating a love for reading, encouraging new readers, and converting nonreaders into readers. How is that done?
Libraries have long been a important social institutions. One only need reflect on the famed Library of Alexandria, for instance, to understand its important place. The library has indeed had to shift its duties and focus to remain relevant in each successive era and each respective culture. This has never been truer than in the twenty-first century, especially in the United States. The changing role and nature of the American library is the topic of a recent gathering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).