Guess What - Libraries Are Still Here Despite Predictions of Obsolescence

As content is increasingly digitized, one might ask whether the library is even a viable building type for the future. “My guess is that most libraries will cease to exist,” says David Bell, a professor at Princeton’s Department of History who writes on the subject. For all their supposed obsolescence, libraries remain vital places, and many of them are more crowded than ever. Printed material, however, is not always the primary draw. The pressure to accommodate “other needs” is especially strong at public libraries, which are increasingly taking on civic functions that far exceed the historical mission of serving books to readers. “Libraries are the new cathedrals of our society. They’re very important sanctuaries,” says the architect Bing Thom. Read this Metropolis Magazine article on why libraries not only still matter, but are more important than ever.


>> “Libraries are the new cathedrals of our society. They’re very important sanctuaries,” says the architect Bing Thom.


Libraries are already centers of collaborative consumption but there is an argument that they can do more in this area.

See three stories up. From 14 full-time Real Librarians to one librarian with 9 high school grad staff renewing books for 5 callers a week.

Ok so ready reference has taken a hit because of the internet. Are you going to take the position that the Internet can answer all questions easily? This questions is not to deny that certain questions are much easier done with a quick Google search. But there are a bunch of types of questions where it helps to have an expert user.

For today, I'll take the position that libraries are dying in a different way than the 'sky is falling' screamers tried to warn us about. They're dying not by being empty (though that will come soon enough as the fees for access to online media providers quickly fall to a cost much less than one's time and fuel to visit the library; be honest, libraries blew online content long ago and it would take a very different type of leader than libraries will probably ever have to recover from the tailspin they're in now), they're dying by becoming wal-marts, full of non-professionals reinforcing a cycle of users - who already don't think they need experts - not thinking of libraries as a place to go for experts.

ps hey lisnews folks - every single comment I submit triggers the spam filter. what's up with that?

You are posting anonymous. You have to pass a captcha if you post anonymous. If you don't like that sign up for an account.

{SPOCK} Curious. {/SPOCK}

Mollom tries to filter out spam and has only had a few misses lately that had to be thoroughly nuked. I know Mollom triggers on mis-spellings and perceived lack of capitalization among other grammar issues. Whatever you posted might have triggered aggressiveness from the algorithms behind Mollom itself.

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