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“Can libraries survive in a digital world?”

March 13, 2011

Once upon a time in the town of my birth,  you could hop on the train and travel to practically anywhere in the country. Then the rail system was ‘modernised’. Why did we need to spend money running all these little stations, when people could use their own cars? Door-to-door! So much more convenient!

Forty years later, the roads in and out of that little town are crowded with weary commuters who really, really wish they didn’t have to drive ten miles to catch the train every morning. And before you ask – yes there are buses, but most of them don’t connect with the train services.  Any suggestion that the local train line might be re-opened are greeted with a hollow laugh and a sentence using the word  ‘millions’ several times over.

I know it’s not a perfect analogy. I know I have a tendency to rant about this. But in forty years’ time are our grandchildren going to be looking back at the wondrous golden age of public libraries and wondering how we could have been so short-sighted?

Anyway, here’s a link to good article on the BBC Click website about how digitisation (as opposed to funding cuts)  is changing libraries.

(Maybe I should have cut all of the above, just typed the word ‘YES’ and put the link?)

3 comments

  1. Given that we are moving away from the traditional paper book and moving towards the true digital age of of e-books and audio-books, the libraries have for a long time remained fixed in the 70’s and have moved little towards the digital age, and as such are failing, I feel that libraries need to move forwards to match the current trends, they can do so without having to stop the traditional paper book.


    • Yes, tho’ even where they have moved forward, not everyone notices. Hence the terrifying ignorance of one local councillor who was quoted to me recently as saying, ‘All you need to know to work in a Library is the alphabet.’!!!

      I’m looking forward to borrowing e-books before long.


  2. Indeed, it will eliminate queues for books, the need to physically go to the library and the need to worry about returning it on time, I only hope they take the same approach to audio-books and also that the publishing houses stop being so greedy. As I often see Kindle books going for for than the paperback version which is madness.



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