Thursday, February 28, 2008

Will libraries really disappear by 2019?


That's what business consultant Ross Dawson thinks, as mentioned in Slate's very cool library architecture slide show. (See his Extinction Timeline.) The above photo is one of the images from the slide show, depicting the Western History Reading Room at the Denver Public Library.

Libraries are certainly more than a place that stores books these days, providing computer and Internet access and training, a public meeting space, programs, and other wonderful things. Are they truly doomed? I hate to think so - and not just because I work in a library. Libraries have always been one of my favorite places to be, from the time I was a child. They have offered me way more than books over the years - I sure hope they aren't really headed for extinction.

9 comments:

  1. nah, remember back in the 1960's, they thought by the year 2000 we would all have flying cars. I wouldn't worry, libraries have withstood the test of time, I think they will be around for a long time.

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  2. I truly hope not. While I love having my own personal library, there is nothing like being able to go try new books for a very small amount of money. And I do have to admit that I fully enjoy the smell and atmosphere of the library!

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  3. VA Gal - and I'm still waiting for my one-piece zip-up outfit that everyone will wear, so I won't have to worry about what to wear in the morning! :-) I hope you are right.

    Kait - I hope not, too. Sometimes I return a book to the library and then go out and buy it, because I know it's a keeper, but if it hadn't been for the library I never would have tried the bookin the first place. I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens! And hope for the best.

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  4. I hope not! Libraries are special places. Like you said, they are more than places where books are stores (although that's pretty special in itself).

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  5. I love VA Gal's comment! It's true that things don't always seem to change as fast as they predict...but I don't know. As a librarian, I of course hope libraries stay around forever, and I think they certainly could. But in order for that to happen, we (librarians) need to focus on the things you mentioned, Darla - programming, community space, and technology - in order to stay relevant and alive.

    When I was in library school in 1990, they were talking about libraries going away by 2000 or so. Given this new article's prediction of 2019, I'd like to think we're at least safe until 2030 or so. :)

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  6. I agree with you, Devinoni - we do need to stay relevant and useful in people's lives. And yes, I hope that estimated "due date" (sorry couldn't resist the pun) is way off!

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  7. 2019 is just around the corner! I don't see libraries disappearing. They are such an important institution in our society and it would be a shame to lose a resource as valuable as that.

    Libraries may end up having a different face in the future, but I think the purpose will stay true. I hope, anyway. :-)

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  8. That would really suck. I've always spent so much time there! Matter of fact, I'm heading over to pick up some stuff tomorrow!

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  9. Literary feline and Ladytink - it's great to hear those nice words about libraries! I hope you are right - I think libraries can evolve as people's needs evolve, right? I sure hope so!

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