Throughout its history, the library has evolved to meet the changing needs of its constituents. With the rise of computers and the Internet in the late 20th century, books were pushed aside to create computer labs.
As demand grew, so did those computer labs and, eventually, the library became a wireless hotspot where patrons and students use their own devices in addition to the library’s.
The explosion of technology led to libraries creating maker’s spaces complete with 3D printers, CAD programs and so much more. Lending libraries, where patrons check out tablets, smart speakers and other devices – many times from digital kiosks – have become a mainstay in many communities.
In addition, libraries have turned their attention to resources available anywhere a student and patron may be. Databases, e-books, audiobooks and all other electronic resources must be available to patrons both in the library and remotely.
The upcoming American Libraries Association conference later this month features a Top Tech Trends session with topics such as Quantum Computing, Digital Gaslighting, Blockchain Technology and Psychometrics. Who, 20 years ago, would have imagined those topics at a library conference?
If you haven’t stepped into your local public or academic library in a few years, you need to. You’ll be amazed at how much it has changed, and how differently it is being used versus 10, 15 or 20 years ago.
You’ll still see plenty of people sitting and reading ink on paper, which is refreshing, but you’ll see so much more than that. The library is a special place – a community gathering spot, a forum for open discussion and fresh ideas, and a hub filled with a world of knowledge.
But it is also a growing technology center where even the least tech-savvy person can begin to learn all the information available in the digital world.
It really is a place for everyone. Check it out – and take your kids!
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