In this era of technology, anything and everything is available at our fingertips. Just a search away. With so many books available digitally, the sales in actual books have seen a dip in recent years. Kindle and audible slowly becoming the new normal. With this fast-changing world and its tech-savvy new generation, are public libraries still relevant? Are digital books and audiobooks the future?
The Latin word liber for library means both books as well as free. Libraries have for centuries provided sanctuary to people with a thirst for knowledge. Free of cost, an expanse of knowledge is available under one roof. People can go and sit down peacefully to read or write in a library, even finding old classics or editions. Libraries across India keep up the idea that people, regardless of their social, financial status, deserve free and easy access to this world’s greatest treasures.
Libraries have taught us the importance of public responsibility and accountability. It is a resource shared by all citizens. Borrowing any Library book instils discipline. One is aware of the book’s importance, returning it and taking care of it.
The other paramount importance of libraries is their inclusivity. There is hardly any other public space that allows its users to use its resources to their gain without asking for money in return or the need of leaving after a fixed amount of time. For poor people who cannot afford these books, libraries are a godsend. It is a way to keep education options possible for everyone.
Every library has people who frequently visit it. Be it to study for a competitive exam without the burden or disruptions caused at home or those who like the quiet and serenity of a large room filled with books. A sense of camaraderie is formed between these people, resulting in a social circle that is not virtual. In this day and age, as we are slowly becoming more and more distant from actual human beings and feelings, libraries serve as a reminder of humanity.
Even with fading popularity, libraries are a pillar of any society. Modern or not. They’re places free of judgement and bias. Everyone has a fair chance at awareness, even for older people who might not be so tech-savvy or the youth who want a peaceful surrounding to focus on education.
Libraries are a source of comfort to many. They have served their purpose for ages in every nation. A world without libraries would forget its basics and be morally corrupt, overlooking the importance of community building and the shared responsibility of resources. Like many other public places, libraries might be losing their popularity a bit, but they’re very far from being outdated or out of use.