As a student of international development with a boundless love of libraries, I delighted in reading this article from Slate about “The Library’s Global Future.” My involvement in the education sector stemmed from my conviction that education, and libraries by extension, are vital to improving political and economic climates, preventing human rights abuses, and encouraging strong civil societies in developing (and developed!) countries.
As sad as I am to see that a future full of libraries with diminished catalogs of physical books, at least libraries will likely remain in some form as useful spaces for public discourse and inter-connectivity, both in person and via access to the Internet. I would love for the libraries of the future to continue pushing their purview further by providing an increasing array of public services, such as therapy groups and skills trainings. While I applaud the work that the Gates Foundation and others have sponsored, far more can be done in that arena, one in which government, non-profit, or corporate funding could have tremendous impact.