GUEST COMMENTARY: Libraries serve vital needs in digital age

2013-04-17T00:00:00Z GUEST COMMENTARY: Libraries serve vital needs in digital ageBy Susan Akers nwitimes.com
April 17, 2013 12:00 am  • 

I heard someone ask the other day, “Are libraries still relevant with the advent of the internet and e-books?” For those who haven’t stopped by their libraries in a while, take some time during National Library Week (April 14-20) to visit the library and experience the vast array of services, programs and resources there.

With 42 million annual visits to our state’s libraries, Hoosiers of all ages are able to enjoy traditional books, e-books, computer classes, DVDs and CDs. Visitors research, read, share, learn, attend quality programs and use information for lifelong learning and leisure pursuits.

A large number of visitors ask library staff to help them learn how to use their e-reading devices, learn how to operate computers, learn how to better develop resumes and to apply for jobs online. Untold thousands flock to the library to ask staff about all types of software or to receive assistance in completing e-government forms.

While the recession drove more people to visit their libraries, we need to recognize that libraries were already very busy places, attracting record numbers of visits.

The library is a place that is open and welcoming to all regardless of one’s socioeconomic position. Teens have discovered that the library is a cool place to go, while at the same time scores of young parents engage in important childhood literacy programs there.

Yes, the library is very relevant today, and it also serves as a “living room” for democracy. Libraries further the convictions of our forefathers that a society flourishes when people have access to information.

With resources that serve business owners and entrepreneurs as well as the homeschooled and people with special needs, libraries are uniquely positioned to serve as vital community centers where people connect with others, get help from information professionals and discover new worlds.

Library directors and boards are innovative and resourceful — and they are committed to offering a combination of traditional services and new technologies. We’ll see you at the library!

Susan Akers is executive director of the Indiana Library Federation. The opinions are the writer's.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Featured Businesses

Submit a Letter to Editor

We welcome letters from readers on any issue of public interest, and make every effort to publish as many as we can and in a timely manner. The Times will publish only one letter a month from a writer, and be sure to include your name, address and a telephone number for verification. Letters should be 150 words or less. They will be edited.

Letters may be submitted:
  • Via our submission form.
  • Via e-mail.
  • Via fax: (219) 933-3249 or (219) 465-7298
  • Via mail or by hand to our offices:
    • 601 45th Ave., Munster, IN 46321
    • 2080 N. Main St., Crown Point, IN 46307
    • 1111 Glendale Blvd., Valparaiso, IN 46383
    • 3410 Delta Dr., Portage, IN 46368
    • Please mark envelopes with "Attn: Letters"

Questions?

Email Editorial Page Editor Doug Ross or call (219) 548-4360 or (219) 933-3357

Poll

Loading…

Should Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood receive national park status?

View Results