Technology And The End Of Libraries

2271 words - 9 pages

As digital natives grow older and technology improves it makes one wonder what the fate of libraries will be. Long gone are the days of the card catalog, with computers taking their place. There is no more browsing the stacks for books on what ever subject has peaked interest, because the Dewey decimal system is no longer taught. Gone are the days of shelves of books as far as you can see, taken away to make room for endless banks of computers, movies and cd's. The click of keys and chatter from private rooms used for multiple purposes is steadily replacing the muffled flipping of pages as technology advances. With digital media becoming a staple for many libraries the restructuring of libraries across the nation are more prominent than ever.
Definitions
Digital Native: a person born into the age of computers and digital technology. Usually born after 1995.
Libraries of the Future
Over the past decade or so the way that humanity accesses information has changed. In “Libraries reinvent themselves as they struggle to remain relevant in the digital age” David Sarno tells of these changes; and how our digital lifestyles affect these institutions. With the availability of high speed internet on every device imaginable information is just a swipe or click away. Libraries are reinventing themselves by creating digital lending libraries, computer centers, and even game rooms for the younger generations. With digital access to almost any written work, libraries are seeing drops in circulation; and are trying to find ways to accommodate the digital lifestyles of today.
With the invention of e-Readers and tablet computers, digital reading is at an all time high; consumers can buy books, subscribe to magazines and newspapers and have them whenever they want to read them. Most libraries are trying to join in the digital world so they develop extensive digital libraries. Sarno states “Like regular books, e-books can be borrowed for a few weeks. Then the book deletes itself from the borrower's computer, e-reader or mobile phone.”(Sarno np) While checking out e-books is a wonderful thing, it can be frustrating with long wait lists as multiple copies usually are not available due to the newness of the technology. Self-deletion or in some cases DRM – Digital Rights Management – freezing so the book cannot be opened can also be a bit harrowing if one is not finished reading the book. Recently there has also been a completely paperless library open in Bexter County, Texas dubbed BiblioTech. In “ Paperless Libraries” Megan Cottrell states “ BiblioTech will allow the county to open a library in an area that previously had none, for less money and in less space than it would cost to open a facility with physical materials.” (Cottrell 1) The thought of low overhead library space that doesn't take op much more room than a small store front is vary appealing this day in age, especially with the cost of utilities and rent for a space.
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