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Original post made
on Apr 8, 2008
When was the last time you went to a travel agent? They still exist but their market has completely changed. Likewise, how often do you visit a bookstore and what you actually buy there? Borders looks like it is going under and Kepler's had to be rescued.
The library needs to adapt, to change and fast if it wants to remain relevant.
I think our libraries want to update and move with the times. They are certainly hubs of community activity. What is the problem here is that there are many people who won't let them evolve.
And, for the record, my favorite place to read a book is in bed, snuggled under the covers - one place that I do not want technology.
Thank goodness: an enlightened view of libraries. What a relief after so often reading and hearing the intellectually lazy view that libraries are not worth public investment because they are obsolete in the age of Google and the online and and big box booksellers!
Travel agents still exist, but their market is much different because of the internet, no question. On ther other hand, the travel business in much different now than it was 10 years ago as well.
There's no question that institutions need to evolve--that's not my argument. If anything, I completely agree with you. Libraries need more meeting spaces, they need to help out with people trying to find information (yes.. .still!), and they need to help collect hardcopies of material that's not easily available online. (You'd be surprised how much stuff is still not on the web, and probably won't ever be.)
Libraries need to change; not go away, or be allowed to quietly become out-of-date or in terminal decline because of neglect.
"On the other hand, the travel business in much different now than it was 10 years ago as well."
The same is true, even more so, for information access. Unfortunately, libraries haven't yet evolved.
I never said libraries needed to go away, if anything they need a lot more money.
Your examples imply that you are fine with what libraries have become today. My take is libraries, as they are today, are already following the travel agents into servicing only a niche market rather than the whole community. This direction needs to change before it becomes irreversible and libraries start to wither and die.
How about many small walk-in centers with computer and internet access and courier service from a central warehouse facility? These centers could also function as initial contact with government departments.
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