NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: EJ857459
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 6
ISSN: ISSN-1542-4715
Have We Lost Our Way? Examining the Purpose of Libraries in a Post-Literate Society
Henry, Robin
Library Media Connection, v28 n1 p30-31 Aug-Sep 2009
In "Fool's Gold: Why the Internet Is No Substitute for a Library," Mark Herring paints a fairly grim picture of the future of libraries. Basically, he posits that a confluence of events and attitudes have come together to bring about the demise (unless something is done, and soon) of the library as people know it. First, people mistakenly believe that they can find anything on the Internet. Second, people don't read or enjoy reading, or read well any more. Herring is not saying that the Internet is bad, just that people should be more discriminating in their use of it. It is important to note one of Herring's conclusions--that readers are unable to read critically or to evaluate what they read for bias or authenticity. This leads in turn to the oft touted 21st century skills, specifically, inquiring critically and making informed decisions. Herring is correct in his assertion that reading is the foundation, but to stay viable, libraries need to do more than push books. What is needed is a redefinition, or perhaps more accurately, a rededication to purpose. The public must see the value of libraries. Libraries must have something that other places do not. At the risk of offending a large number of librarians, the answer is not gaming, coffee bars, or a book store arrangement. While these things may tempt patrons in the door, what will keep them coming back? Offering services related to knowledge or skill building and encouraging intellectual growth is what will keep patrons coming back. In other words, get back to the beginning--libraries as repositories for the storage and dissemination of culture and knowledge (not merely information). Libraries are places where trained professionals help people to gain knowledge, make informed decisions, participate ethically in a democratic society, and pursue personal growth, in other words, obtaining and using 21st century skills.
Linworth Publishing, Inc. 480 East Wilson Bridge Road Suite L, Worthington, OH 43085. Tel: 614-436-7107; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A