ou’ll hear a lot of talk about the “death of the public library” these days. It isn’t simply the perpetual budget crises that many face either. It’s the move to digital literature, and the idea that once there are no more print books (or rather if there are no more print books), the library as an institution will cease to exist.Librarians will remind you, of course, that a library is much more than a book repository. It’s an information center (free and open information, I should add). It’s an educational center. It’s a digital access center. It’s a community center. It’s fairly clear when you describe the library like this that none of these roles are going away (nor should they), no matter what format our reading habits may move to.
But these new formats will indeed change libraries — how they operate as well as how they look. As our books become digitized, there may be less need for row upon ofbookshelves. And as such, that’s a great opportunity for libraries to re-think how to use that space.