Are libraries really obsolete?

Twice now I have heard someone say that libraries are becoming obsolete. I find this statement a little out of whack with reality.

Twice now I have heard someone say that libraries are becoming obsolete.  I find this statement a little out of whack with reality.  I am a huge user of the new library and rarely go in there when I am the only patron.  Recently, I picked up two pre-order selections – one was a DVD, the other a book called “Some Great Thing.”

I love books.  I love the smell of them, the feel of them and the fact that I can read them anywhere anytime (except while driving perhaps).  I carry books in my glove compartment, my work satchel, when I travel and when I am home.  They are always close at hand.

Books don’t need batteries or updating or anything really.  They just need an audience.  When I am on holidays, I can just drop my book and dive in the pool when I get too hot without worry of theft.  When I am reading and fall asleep and my book falls, so what?  Books are not obsolete and I would be shocked if they ever are.  Electronics are not the same…no way.  Especially for those of us who have had enough of them by the time we get home.

Not all things can be learned on TV or by computer.  You cannnot get the feel for someone’s voice in the same way from anything other than a book.  Books are windows that talk.

I do believe that ebooks have grown in popularity and I am not saying that I will never own an e-reader, but I can assure everyone of this – I will always own books.  They are treasures.

I can pass them down to my kids and off to my friends.  I have traded books, lent books and revelled when I find an elusive one.

There are two parts to the complaint about our new library that I have heard repeatedly, so I thought a few facts might help.  While the library was under construction, the town made it very energy efficient.  All those windows are an asset.  Our library looks great inside and out.  The old library was dark and horrid.  The new library is bright and cheerful.  Circulation is on the rise NOT decline.  The library is used more by rural readers than municipal readers.

I hate olives.  Just because I don’t eat them doesn’t mean no one does.  Tons of people eat olives and love them.  Well guess what?  Tons of people read books and love them.  It is easy to make obscure generalizations about a municipal project or a volunteer group from afar.  Especially, when one can’t be bothered to look into the facts.  Of course, that would require some reading.

If one isn’t sure about whether or not something new in our community is a benefit, ask around.  Go on the Okanagan Regional Library website and see how it is thriving,  Join China Ridge and make a trail with them.  Get information about the financial process that led the construction of the projects.  There are almost always grants involved.  Town Council is a great place to learn about the real facts.  I could go on, but I think I will go read a book instead…learning never ends unless you want it to.


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