libraries, literacy, technology, privilege, reading
Lifestyle

6 reasons why the importance of libraries transcends both technology and Privilege

Believe it or not, libraries are more relevant than ever.

177

Being in the middle of 2018, we're living in the age many would dub "the future." The past decade, technology has changed the way we study, conduct research, keep up with the news, write, and read. While the convenience and innovation of technology has been largely positive, it's caused us to question the relevance of a good old-fashioned public library. And while this is a valid quandary, our access to technology is also often a matter of privilege. After all, digital reading and media sources are not as universal as a physical library space. In any case, it's clear that the presence of libraries is vital and irreplaceable, regardless of society's increase in technology and financial privilege.

Libraries are the ideal option for low-income readers.

Although the public book-lending cornucopias we call libraries are relatively universal, they sometimes seem to be hidden in plain sight. Likely, this can be accredited to the fact that many modern consumers have the financial means to purchase new books and E-readers. As satisfying as it can be to splurge on a new book at Barnes and Noble from time to time, this luxury is not available to everyone. And it is a luxury-- new paperback books are seldom under $15.00, and hardcover books often cost at least $30.00. E-readers, on the other hand, can cost up to $200, and the tablets many of us use to read cost many times more. And while many people could afford this, many others (particularly avid readers) understandably couldn't. Those who see libraries as irrelevant forget that low income families and individuals rely on libraries to borrow books for school, for research, or for the unadulterated enjoyment of a novel.

Libraries provide access to new media.

Beyond traditional carbon-based books, libraries house a plethora of audio books, digital resources, and movies for anyone to enjoy. Although subscriptions to audio book apps, digital news media, and video streaming are widely used, some of us may find that we either can't afford all of these subscriptions or merely won't use them enough for what they cost. In any case, free digital sources are always a viable option for anyone who may need them, whether to substitute or to just supplement the services at our fingertips. Aside from these digital resources, most public libraries are equipped with computers that patrons can use to surf the internet or create documents. If an unemployed individual needs a computer to fill out online applications or draft a resume, the library is always available to them.

Libraries host a wide array of free community events.

Aside from hosting book clubs and book signings for various ages, libraries host workshops across topics, from genealogy, to robotics, to screenwriting. These can provide free fun for all ages and help build a stronger sense of community, particularly for children and young adults. Academically, children can benefit from reading and math clubs, and storytime-style reading events are available for children as young as newborns. For adults, libraries often host free workshops in topics like business and financial literacy. Typically, bilingual workshops are available in public libraries for non-native English speakers, and English lessons and seminars are not uncommon either.

Libraries are an inclusive public space.

With very few exceptions, most public spaces won't allow individuals to sit down, read, work, or use the restroom in their facilities without making a purchase. Since libraries are for everyone, anyone can come and go as they please without being kicked to the curb. This is especially important for people who may not have anywhere else to go, such as the homeless or children from neglectful homes.

Utilizing the library motivates us to keep reading.

For those of us who wish for more time to read, the pending due date of a library book is key to holding us accountable and pacing ourselves as readers. Even if you need to use a renewal, the presence of any deadline will motivate you to finish your book. Visiting the library to return and check out books regularly makes the process of finishing books quick, natural, and routine in a way that digital platforms of reading don't provide. In a world dominated by visual entertainment and social media, it's more important than ever to prioritize basic literacy and keep reading.

The library is timeless.

Overall, libraries remain one of the most inclusive and rich public learning spaces. Although the idea of a library is, in itself, rather ancient, libraries have a way of holding true to their original purpose while evolving and acclimating to our culture. Regardless of our technological advances, the accessibility and value of these spaces is truly timeless.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Swoon

I Started Dating A Guy Before Quarantine, But Now We Rarely Speak Unless I Double-Text

"He's really nice and cute and I like being around him when we see each other, but he's awful at communication."

Each week Swoonie B will give her advice on anonymous topics submitted by readers. Want to Ask Swoonie B something related to dating and relationships? Fill out this form here — it's anonymous.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

This Is Exactly What You Should Eat Today In Quarantine, Based On Your Zodiac Sign

You've probably been eating it the past three months,

If we added up all the minutes of my life I've stood in front of the fridge or pantry mindlessly glazing over options, it would probably amount to several years longer than I'd care to admit.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

If You Don't Think People Are Legitimately Scared To Stay In Lockdown, Think Again

People are terrified of what could happen if states stay in lockdown too long.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to be the topic of discussion for most U.S. residents. From federal reopening guidelines to individual state timelines, the country is all over the place. This sparks conversations within the news, social media, and in family homes about the consequences of reopening the country incorrectly.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

If You Don't Think People Are Legitimately Scared To Reopen States, You're Not Looking Hard Enough

People are terrified of what could happen if states begin reopening too early.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to be the topic of discussion for most U.S. residents. From federal reopening guidelines to individual state timelines, the country is all over the place. This sparks conversations within the news, social media, and in family homes about the consequences of reopening the country incorrectly.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Feel A Lil' Better: Because You Need To Stretch It Out

Your weekly wellness boost from Odyssey.

No matter how good (or bad) you'd describe your health, one thing is for sure: a little boost is ALWAYS a good idea. Whether that's reading a new, motivating book, or listening to a song that speaks to your soul, there are plenty of resources to help your health thrive on any given day.

Flexibility is an important part of life. Yes, you need to be able to go with the flow and adjust when needed, but literal, physical flexibility is equally handy. Not only does increased flexibility keep you safe from injury each time you work out, but a good stretch session is incredibly soothing after a long day. Your body goes through a lot! It needs to cool down and get loose after all the activities you put it through.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

5 Amazing Things That Happened To Me When I Took Just A Week Off From Social Media

I've taken one-week off social media, and here's what I learned.


You’ll think clearer.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments