account, look up books and other library material, search catalogs of
other libraries, reserve books, and access databases on just about any
subject you can think of. Don't forget to check out the list
of library events. There is always something exciting at the library
for all ages.
free to look
around and browse to your heart's content. After all, that is what the
library is for.
Librarians Totally Obsolete? Reasons Why Libraries and Librarians Are
Still Extremely Important
Many predict that the digital age will wipe
public bookshelves clean, and permanently end the centuries-old era of
libraries. As libraries' relevance comes into question, librarians face
an existential crisis at a time when students need them the most.
Despite their perceived obsolescence in the digital age, both libraries
and librarians are irreplaceable for many reasons - nearly twenty
reasons, in fact.
Reasons Number 10 to 12:
10. Eliminating Libraries would Cut Short an Important Process of
Cultural Evolution: The library that we are most familiar with today a
public or academic institution that lends out books for free is a
product of the democratization of knowledge. In the old days, books
weren't always so affordable, and private libraries, or book clubs,
were a privilege of the rich. This started changing during the 1800s,
with more public libraries popping up as a result of government
Libraries began blossoming under the watch of President Franklin
Roosevelt, in part as a tool to differentiate the United States from
book-burning Nazis. This increased interest in building a more perfect,
liberal society culminated in 1956 with the Library Services Act, which
introduced federal funding for the first time. Today there are tens of
thousands public libraries in the United States.
The notion that libraries are a thing of the past and that humankind
has sprouted wings and flown into a new era of self-guided.
Unfortunately, it's this same notion that could lead to the notion of
libraries as stuffy and out-of-date. In reality, the quality of the web
depends on guidance from the library model. While moderators do have
brush to clear in the new and savage cyber-scape, librarians have trail
blazed significant parts of the journey.
11. Wisdom of Crowds is Untrustworthy, Because of the Tipping Point:
The high visibility of certain viewpoints, analysis and even facts
found online through social networking sites and wikis is engineered
ideally to be the result of objective group consensus. Google's
algorithm also hinges on this collective principle: rather than an
in-house "expert" arbitrarily deciding what resource is the most
authoritative, let the web decide. Sites with higher link popularity
tend to rank higher in the search engines. The algorithm is based on
the principle that group consensus reveals a better, more accurate
analysis of reality than a single expert ever could. Writer James
Surowiecki calls this phenomenon "the wisdom of crowds."
In a vacuum, crowds probably are very wise. But all too often we see
the caveat to James Surowiecki's crowd wisdom in Malcom Gladwell's
"tipping point", which, in this context, explains that groups are
easily influenced by their vanguard those who are the first to do
something and who automatically have extra influence, even if what they
are doing is not necessarily the best idea.
The highly social nature of the web therefore makes it highly
susceptible to, for example, sensationalized, low-quality information
with the sole merit of being popular. Libraries, in contrast, provide
quality control in the form of a stopgap. Only information that is
carefully vetted is allowed in. Libraries are likely to stay separate
from the internet, even if they can be found online. Therefore, it is
extremely important that libraries remain alive and well, as a
counterpoint to the fragile populism of the web.
12. Librarians are the Irreplaceable Counterparts to Web Moderators:
Individuals who voluntarily devote their time to moderating online
forums and wikis are playing a similar role to librarians who oversee
the stacks and those who visit the stacks, minus the Master's degree in
library sciences. The chief difference between librarians and
moderators is that while the former guides users through a collection
of highly authoritative, published works, the moderator is responsible
for taking the helm as consensus is created. While the roles are
distinct, each is evolving along with the fast paced growth of the
internet and the evolving nature of libraries. Both moderators and
librarians will have a lot to learn from each other, so it is important
that they both stick around.