As the digital revolution advances, the very nature and function of libraries changes as well. Many libraries have decided to jump into the modern era head first and find new ways of preserving the spirit of inquiry in readers. The willingness of public libraries to accommodate the changing needs of their communities has opened the field of Library Science up to new and exciting possibilities.
1. Creating Centers of Learning
Librarians are taking the initiative to bring in new technology and think up innovative ways to make learning fun for the young and old. Instead of stagnating in their role of guardians of the printed word, they are working hard to turn local libraries into centers of learning where knowledge is easily accessible and exists beyond the pages of books.
Librarians are training to master new games and apps that allow them to interact with students and readers of various age groups, through programs that make the process simpler and more enjoyable. For instance, some librarians found that the introduction of an app based games makes a reading hour with younger students more engaging and fruitful.
2. Building Communities Around Technology
Today, local libraries house the largest number of free and open access computers to the benefit of their community. In the aftermath of the recent economic downturn, most libraries found an increase in patronage from local citizens. Students from low-income households now have a safe space to focus.
Some libraries have already gone much beyond this stage and brought in tablets and e-readers for the benefit of their patrons. Some now have sensors at the door to count daily footfall and apps that allow readers to ask questions of local librarians from the comfort of their homes.
3. Changing Roles of Librarians
As the function of libraries evolves, so does the role of the librarian. In recent years, interest in a library science degree has increased again on the back of a growing demand for librarians trained in new technologies.
Librarians are known to have an encyclopedic knowledge of reference materials on all subjects. But, the development of a global database of digital books has made it important for them to learn how to sieve through an immense amount of information to find the material required by the reader. Trained librarians are now able to quickly unearth obscure books and journals from their databases and help researchers in finding the material they need.
4. Curation of Digital Libraries
The mass digitization of millions of books is a recent and welcome development in the field of Library Science. Repositories like the HathiTrust contain books converted into digital format by various bodies and corporations like the Library Consortium, Google Books, and the Internet Archive. The eventual aim is to create a unified collection of all human knowledge, but dealing with such a massive amount of online text is its own challenge.
Today, the need for technologically aware librarians is great. For undergraduate students with an academic bend, the time is right to take up a course of masters of library science online. There is great demand for librarians versed in researching and navigating the massive and growing digital repositories of knowledge libraries have become.
Rather than disappearing into obscurity, libraries have evolved into spaces of interactive learning and a tool for higher literacy in local communities. Going forward, as printed volumes become rarer, the ancient notion of libraries is rapidly changing. With proper funding and a better understanding of the demands of a growing digital age, libraries are poised to remain an indispensable part of every local community.