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What is the future of libraries?

Libraries withdraw (either throw out, resale, or recycle) print materials all the time. Many libraries say that these print materials are being replaced by resources on the web or non print resources. But with the rising costs of subscriptions, licensing, legal issues involved with copyright, privacy and what not, how can libraries provide access to all of these types of materials? Are libraries throwing out some of our heritage when withdrawing print materials? Where are libraries heading and how can they navigate the waters of freedom of expression in a digital age, security, public access, or free services.

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  • Sep 15 2011: I grew up with a librarian very close to me, she instilled a fabulous and intense love of written words and appreciation for libraries. However I'm ashamed to admit I rarely go to my library. As wonderful as they are, I've found it harder to get the books I want or need from them, then to go find the information on the internet. Waiting two weeks for a book to be sent from one library to another takes so long that often it arrives too late to be useful in a project for a class.
    The selling of their "extra" copies of books breaks my heart, though I gladly buy them up. I find there is a lack of wanting to take advantage of the libraries we still have because the internet is so much faster when searching for information.
    I'm not sure how long it will be, but public libraries will shut down sometime soon.
    • Sep 15 2011: But libraries also offer community programs and services for all ages. I know of libraries where the homeless go to warm up during the winter and the unemployed look for jobs on the internet. I think one of the problems that we have is that we associate libraries solely with books and not other community services. Also, libraries have materials beyond just books like journals, newspapers, databases, or research materials. Some of these materials are too expensive for a single individual to buy. But libraries have them.

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