Libraries, once huge dusty book echo chambers, became multipurpose spaces where you could print documents, study, do group projects, and use WiFi while sipping a cup of coffee. Now it’s time to change again – in order to survive they transform into something else.
Click Start to play today’s word search, where you can spot a “library” among other buildings and structures.
With the prevalence of digital media, an increase in eBooks, and massive budget cuts around the world, the end of libraries has long been predicted. But they are still standing. Whereas the libraries of the past were inactive information repositories, the libraries of the future will be less books and more services.
The change is already underway. For example, in 2014, the US-based San Diego Public Library opened its IDEA Lab, a place of exploration and learning. The lab hires teen interns to lead workshops on various technologies, such as Photoshop and stop-motion animation, and participate in skills-building projects.
Likewise, in 2015, librarians at Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in North Carolina, USA created the Idea Box, a place where young people learn to 3D print, model, knit and code. It provided them with a space where they could develop their interests in STEAM careers – science, technology, engineering, arts and math. And since 2014, the Brooklyn Public Library in New York has set up Pop-Up Libraries, a service for the homeless.
Libraries outside of the United States are also reinventing themselves. Most have podcasts that get people reading – the British Library in London, UK, for example, chats with authors and explores literary news like how a college professor turns classics like Treasure. Island in video games, to encourage children to read.
Tokyo, Japan is trying something else – he opened a hostel with the concept of ‘bookstore where you can stay’. Whether sleeping, eating or lounging, visitors are surrounded by books – over 4,000 titles – and may encounter other bookworms as well.
Do you think this commissioning will bring libraries back to the center of their communities? Play today’s word search and tell us at [email protected]