Followers of this blog may have noted that I post news pieces on libraries semi-frequently. That’s because some of my fondest memories are of libraries and I still find them to be peaceful and relaxing havens; however, I’m seriously concerned about their future. I don’t want them to go the way of bookstores and disappear, yet I can’t get behind this trend of converting them into e-facilities, lacking in real paper books.
The “Not Your Mother’s Library” article by Deborah Fallows in The Atlantic initially caught my eye because of the survey done by The Columbus Metropolitan Library on words to describe libraries of the past versus libraries of the future. While it’s gratifying to see that “books” and “research” remain crucial components in the imagined future, the word cloud suggests that the key purpose of libraries will be being “information” centers for the “community,” places where people can “access” “technology.”
If you combine those items rather than look at them individually, it leads to ideas like free child literacy programs and closer ties between libraries and local schools, which the Columbus Public Library is considering to be strategic priorities. The library isn’t just stopping with children – they also created adult literacy, financial literacy, and career literacy courses. Despite the focus on technology, including beefing up computer facilities, going this route creates a more personal touch to the library, a sense of service to the larger community that brings in a wider group of patrons. I can appreciate that as long as they also serve my bibliophilic needs!
P.S. Isn’t the library facade and Topiary Park gorgeous? I’m jealous I don’t live in Columbus!