Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Who needs libraries?

I work in a library, if you haven't read my profile ( and why would you - time is precious...sob).

We're undergoing a lot of changes at the moment. Shrinking funds dictate that money is spread over a broader area in order to keep up with our ever-changing social landscape. In other words, we're being dragged, kicking and screaming into the 21st century, via a brand, spanking new, all singing, all dancing computer system. About time, maybe. But why fix what ain't broke, argue the Public.

Why indeed?

Well, like other institutions, libraries are not immune to a spot of re-shaping and if the end result entices more (younger) readers through our hallowed doors, that's a Good Thing. There are a lot of alternative resources out there, not controlled by libraries and if we don't get actively get involved in shaping the coming changes, we'd be cutting our collective noses off to spite our faces.

Of course, we don't want to alienate existing customers. Libraries have long been an integral part of the community and what they'll continue to offer is a public gathering space, local information, and the diversity not necessarily offered by the current "one-size-fits-all" approach of supermarkets, bookstore chains and music/video shops. Hopefully the public will continue to support us.

Arguably, people don't need libraries any more - but it would be hard to imagine a world without them (or is it just me??)

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