Both National and Local Libraries are Increasingly Going Digital
Though the printed book is still an important component of the library, many institutions are shifting their focus to digital technologies and new ways to engage patrons.
Digital Library Resources at the National Level
Though still maintaining one of the world’s largest collections of printed books, the Library of Congress now also lists some 275 digital collections, covering such topics as history, government and law, politics, the performing arts and numerous others. And, these are freely available to anyone who takes a few minutes to sign up for a Researcher’s card.
Launched in 2013, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) has set itself the objective of making the treasures of the nation’s libraries, archives and collections available to all citizens, whether students, professional researchers or just interested individuals.
And, the renowned Gutenberg Project now offers more than 53,000 free public domain e-books in easily searchable form.
Bookless Libraries On College Campuses
Stanford University’s School of Engineering initiated its move to being bookless in 2010. Other institutions such as Florida Polytechnic, the University of Michigan and many other campuses have recently followed suit with some or all of their campus libraries. It’s not that the books have disappeared, but they can be at least partially stored off-site and available by specific request. In the libraries themselves, computer terminals and e-book readers are available for use by terminals, freeing up space and allowing rapid access to a vast range of resources.
Online Resources In Local Community Libraries
These kinds of initiatives are now increasingly being undertaken at the local level as well. BiblioTech in Bexar County (i.e. suburban San Antonio) is said to be the nation’s first bookless public library, but many local community libraries now offer not just printed books and magazines, but also internet access to e-books, databases, newspapers, music, downloads, tutorials, educational courses and numerous other resources.
While many people still love reading physical books, the increasing issue of e-only library cards rather than traditional library cards allows patrons to get a library card and borrow e-materials without leaving their home. Traditional library cards however now do double-duty. They allow a holder to checkout physical books, as well as access many of the library’s online services remotely with just the card number.
Many libraries now regard traffic to their websites as equivalent to traditional in-person visitors, and although the role is changing, with such a rapidly expanding plethora of available information to be navigated, there is still a need for qualified and trained librarians, also now commonly termed information professionals. Someone still has to make all the materials available and train people on how to find and use the perfect tool to change their life for the better.
Get Qualified As a Master of Management In Library and Information Science (MMLIS)
Studying for a qualification as a Master of Management in Library and Information Science (MMLIS) is a great way to begin a rewarding career and take full advantage of these developing trends. Focused on leadership and management skills, as well as traditional academic and library knowledge, this program seeks to prepare you for potential roles within public libraries, and a variety of academic, government and business organizations.
St. Paul Library Announces E-Card Option for Access to Digital Resources – Twin Cities Pioneer Press
Where are the books libraries under fire as they shift from print to digital – The Washington Post
Subjects of Collections – The Library of Congress
The Strategic Plan – The Digital Public Library of America
Free ebooks: Plan Gutenberg – Project Gutenberg’s Website
Standford Ushers in the Age of Bookless Libraries – The Digital Reader
Texas Libraries Offer Glimpse of Bookless Future – USA Today