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Why We Still Need Libraries in the Digital Age

Today’s blog is a guest post from Ericson Roberts – a popular online blogger. He is a reading and early learning advocate to his kids. When he’s not writing, he enjoys taking his sons out for a game of catch, and transform ordinary parenting techniques into a fun-filled learning experience.

Today, information can be accessed easily online. But, what about those who do not have access to broadband or the internet? How can they tap into the information they need? This is why the existence of libraries cannot be erased. Through libraries, everyone can access information.

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There is no denying that technology has indeed changed the way we consume media. Newspapers have virtual distribution channels, books have online versions, and everything can be accessed through the World Wide Web.

We have entered into an era where information can be acquired with a touch of the finger. What we see offline can almost always be found online. No exceptions.

With the rise of online versions of books called eBooks or even audio books, we face the question do we still need libraries in this digital age? Surprisingly, the answer is yes.

Did you know people who read regularly are 2.5 times less likely to acquire Alzheimer’s Syndrome? In an infographic shared by Feel Good, we learn a lot of interesting facts as to why we should still be reading books and not just eBooks.

However, the need for libraries is not just because of health issues. In a recent survey conducted by the Office for National Statistics, not everyone has access to broadband, let alone the internet, despite the widespread online penetration globally.

For instance, the survey shows more than 10 million adults in the UK alone do not have access to the internet. Even though the majority of the population may have access, there is still the issue of IT (information technology) literacy that needs to be addressed.

Many users are still unable to perform a simple inquiry on search engine platforms. A common behavior for users is just to click on the top-most result or the first article that appears on a Google search. This behavior can skew research. So, even though technology plays a significant role in our society, libraries are crucial because of the information they can provide to the general public. Even those who are not proficient in using technological tools.

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The importance of having libraries is not decreasing, people are just choosing to access information differently. We cannot abandon the existence of libraries in schools or communities because they serve as the bridge between those who are well-informed and those who aren’t.


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Craig Kemp

Craig Kemp

I am a passionate Global EdTech Consultant based in Singapore but working with Schools and EdTech companies all over the world. I am a lifelong learner, dream creator and thought leader. I love to inspire others and find inspiration. Co-founder of #whatisschool, #asiaED edchats and #pubPD.

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  • I don’t think libraries will be getting phased out but in-person school buildings will become outdated in the next few decades. I imagine the future education systems of most advanced countries will continue to move towards a combination of online and in-person classes for both primary, secondary and tertiary levels. I believe libraries of the future will act as extensions of schools where people can go to attend tutoring sessions (if they need extra help after watching live/pre-recorded lectures from their respective online classes) and take secure, proctored exams. Rather than going to school five days per week, I think the vast majority of people will begin to take more, most or all of their classes online while only meeting up at in-person buildings 1, 2 or 3x max per week and for a shorter amount of time either for group discussions, social events, lectures, tutoring, exams, etc. Of course the above is already being done by hundreds of millions, I just think we’re only going to see more and more of this until actual school buildings become much smaller or almost completely phased out. This will save governments billions of dollars annually in building and staff expenses. It will also lessen traffic and save fellow human beings a lot of money, time and stress driving/getting to and from in-person classes.

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