Alexander, the King of Macedonia, and of the Greek City-States and much of the known world set out to build libraries in the communities he conquered. In Alexander’s mind set he had conquered the land and with the establishment of a great library system Alexander set out to woo minds. Since that time libraries have been an integral part of our society’s
heritage. During my early days as a business consultant libraries and librarians were an import edge to my success. Demographics, newly advanced trades, inventions, and language development – I could find it all in libraries. At times the finding was much more difficult than I planned for and it was not unusual for me to be rescued by a librarian whose depth of knowledge that to this day I remain in awe of. As we all know internet search engines took much of the thunder from the libraries. The one glitch to using the search engines is that if the data was not entered onto the vast net, it would not exist. And of course sitting alone in your home or office you would not be able to ask the librarian the question and receive the answer that would take your research to the next level. And most important of all, the libraries act as a social hub. If you are in search of something, anything, and cannot find it anywhere else, the answer might be at your local library.
The following material from the New York Times asks the purpose and the role of libraries in the modern world. http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/12/27/do-we-still-need-libraries/?ref=opinion
My community took on a major expenditure to rebuild and rethink our local library. The facility, in addition to books, movies, and music to use at the facility and to check out, has a large meeting room where performances occur, an internet area where one can reserve the use of one of the library’s computers for use, a gallery for locals to display their art, study rooms available for individuals or small groups, a tot’s reading and storytelling area, and brochures and pamphlets detailing various public services or programs. The modern library, such as in my community, tends to display a smaller inventory of books in favor of incorporating the aforementioned resources.
Unfortunately libraries are easy targets. Austerity has become a golden word. Cutbacks in hours of service, sometimes closings for a full day or days are scheduled. Librarians have found their hours cut and their staff thinned. Places that provide community gathering are not in vogue these days as they largely provide resources to students, the indigent and the old, political groups that have not marshaled their power. But even with the cuts and being ignored by some, libraries remain vital toward research and community. Whatever the configuration of the building and the dynamics of the community, the important thing is for local libraries to have the resources to remain relevant today and into the future.