With the consistent rise of technology, it has become evident that the arts and reading are going on a heavy downturn. As a result, institutions, namely the library, has seen a dramatic decrease in importance. Libraries have been labelled as unnecessary simply because with the world of technology taking over, they seem to become even more obsolete. Here’s why we should not count them out.
Libraries are funded by the public in order to serve the public. They offer books, movies, and music curated to entertain and inform the public, with more available through various loans. They offer internet access and low-cost printing services. They offer financial literacy training and job search assistance. And most importantly, they serve non-English-speaking immigrants, incarcerated people as well as homeless people.
The library was designed by the government to help the people in the public who may not have access to much technology. They provide cheap yet accessible and efficient resources and services that can easily be used by any individual of all levels. Everyone knows that libraries lend books, but they also lend much more. Some lend tools, cooking equipment, games, seeds and even fishing rods.
Libraries also have study rooms, conference rooms, event hosting facilities and equipment such as projectors and 3-D printers available for use. Other services offered within libraries include book groups, assistance in job searches, and classes on a multitude of topics. Even the story time for the younger children proves to be extremely valuable, as it helps shape the path to literacy for the youngest in our society.
Furthermore, libraries will always maintain a standard of trust and accountability when it comes to information. The internet is notorious for the ability to post anything online, causing the reader to have to fact check to have confidence in the legitimacy of what they are reading. In libraries, an individual does not have to worry about that. One can enter any library, pick up any book, and be confident that its content is accurate and precise. Because the internet cannot guarantee the same level of comfort or safety, libraries become a center of fact checking.
Although it is true that libraries have several flaws and are not perfect, they are nowhere near a waste of money and should still be there at our disposal. Libraries can offer a plethora of resources, where there is free and easy access to information, cultural enrichment can be expanded on, and the most underserved groups of our society can get the access to information and entertainment that they deserve.
Surprisingly, studies show that approximately 15 percent of Americans do not have consistent access to the internet. This is mind boggling especially considering how much our society is developing from a technological standpoint. For this very reason libraries still stand today. They have always been a service to the public, and will continue to be just that.
Even though we feel like no one needs the library, there are always individuals who actually do need the library to access information and the Internet. And while it is clear that fewer people are visiting libraries across the nation, it is becoming even more important in this age of technology to sustain the life of libraries.
Daniel Kim, Grade 12
Crescenta Valley High School