A Future Library – North Surrey Library Science student ponders the future of Libraries

The Library has gone through various stages and changes throughout history to what it is today. In the past, libraries weren’t very accessible to the public…or very useful. You couldn’t check out books in a library, there wasn’t a fiction section and only a selected few could enter the library. Books were hand-written by priests and monks and were really expensive. The average farmer would have never been able to afford a single book, and even if they could, they wouldn’t be able to read it. Only the rich would have been able to get an education and know how to read.  Because of this gap in economic status, the knowledge held in books would always be kept within a small group of wealthy intellectuals. I think that this is one of the major reasons why the rich only got richer and the poor only got poorer.

All this began to change when the printing press came along. This revolution made books cheaper and accessible to the general public. With the prices of books dropping, the desire to learn increased, and through the course of time, libraries also began to change. As more and more people became educated, libraries slowly became more public and useful to the population. Eventually, libraries became the ones we are familiar with today. A library is place to learn for EVERYONE. It’s a place to research, to think, to work, to study and also a place to enjoy a novel. It’s hard to foresee what the future holds and what will become of libraries. They are currently being taken over by the digital world. Books have become less and less popular since everything can be done digitally. Libraries may just become an application on your phone in the future. I don’t know what the future holds, but the following is what I hope it’ll become.

The future of libraries lies with technology. Firstly, libraries in the future will have a mainframe computer that will store all of its servers, software and data. The WI-FI system and other computers all around the library will be connected to this central computer. With a system like this, people can post and share any opportunity and news locally, nationally or globally. People can also post articles about anything based on experience or research. There can be forums where people can discuss and ask questions about a variety of topics. It’s kind of like a combination of Wikipedia and Yahoo Answers.  This way, the servers in the library will become a socially interactive space for learning. Secondly, books will no longer be needed. With the constant improving technology of touch screen tablets, books would be most efficient if they were kept digital. This way, thousands and thousands of books can be stored on one single hard drive. This will provide extra room for other things in the library and if anyone wants to check out a book, all they will have to do connect their phones or tablets to the library’s server through WI-FI and download the data they need.

Just like how there’s a high school in every community, there should also be a library. All the libraries in the district will be connected so that information around the community can be shared. Opportunities for jobs and volunteer activities can be posted onto forum boards that anyone in the district can access. This way, high-school and university students can have an information network to help them manage their life. For this system to work, everyone in the community must contribute somehow to the library system, either by buying the digital data or editing the forums. Without the support of almost every individual in the community, this system will collapse.

Zhichao Guo

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