The library is a truly impressive invention, but some people question whether we need them now that we have the internet. They wonder why we need dusty shelves stacked with books when we can download an ebook in a few seconds. The simple answer is that libraries have become so much more than a place to store books and access them for free.
Libraries at Nebraska colleges and universities and around the world are digitizing and storing vast amounts of historical and cultural data. Photographs, documents, paintings and manuscripts from mankind's greatest contributors are being digitally archived for anyone in the world to see for free.
Students at school libraries are learning how to use the internet to conduct research for the first time. University libraries are home to large computer labs for students to do their work in. Librarians are skilled in helping students navigate to reliable sources of information quickly.
Libraries today are arguably even more valuable to society then they were before the dawn of the Internet.
Just as a book should never be judged by the cover, neither should a college library. They are one of the greatest strengths of our higher education system. University campuses across the United States have libraries with vast collections of books and materials that students can use for research or homework. Of course they also provide a perfect place for students to study. Virtually all college libraries also have computers as well as highly trained librarians that can help students find what they're looking for.
Do we still need libraries?
Sadly, most people still think of the library as a place where you go to borrow dusty books and where you're expected to be shushed by a grumpy librarian. The reality is that libraries are still a great place to borrow books, but they offer so much more. For example, you can borrow ebooks and physical books at most libraries now.
Most college libraries provide computers with Internet access. Some even loan out tablets or laptops to students. Many even offer classes to help people use computers more effectively.
Of course it all begins in school libraries. This is where most people were first introduced to a library. This is also where young students begin to learn how to use library resources for schoolwork and for research. Almost everyone can remember being introduced to the Dewey Decimal System and the card catalog when they were in elementary school. Most people can probably recall doing science classification assignments at their school library too.
Young students are exposed to all sorts of new forms of research in modern day school libraries. We need modern school libraries even more as technology continues to impact our lives. Just as important are the librarians that will need to adapt quickly to new technologies.
School libraries rock!
If you haven't figured it out by now, we think school libraries rock. Of course, we think school librarians rock too. A lot of people ask us which college or university library we like the most. It's really tough to decide on a single library as most colleges have a system of libraries. If we had to choose just one, we'd go with the Harvard University libraries. It's the oldest library system in the United States and is the largest university library system in the world.