"Libraries keep the records on behalf of all humanity, the unique and the absurd, the wise and the fragments of stupidity."
— Vartan Gregorian
Libraries, throughout history and in the present day, have been vital in helping to define the ideals of democracy, knowledge and progress. An informed public cultivates a better functioning and advancing society, and free and accessible libraries serve as a critical vehicle to keep the public informed.
But, are libraries, with the digital age, waning in their importance? After all, there are 248 million Internet users in North America alone—almost 74 percent of the population.
No, in fact, they’re more important now than ever before. In these tough economic times, library use is soaring. A quick Google search of “library use up” produces over a billion results, many of them from media outlets reporting on the surges at their local public and academic libraries. With free resources—books, DVDS, Internet access—services and programs, many people throughout the country are reconnecting, or connecting for the first time, with their local library.
And we cannot forget the importance libraries have on our future. Without libraries, many records of our history, culture and intellectual advancements and curiosity would be lost. As Vartan Gregorian, the current president of the Carnegie Corporation in New York, superbly put it “the unique and the absurd, the wise and the fragments of stupidity.” Libraries are the best at identifying, acquiring, preserving and exposing knowledge—for our benefit and the benefit of future generations.
The week of April 12-18 is National Library Week. Take a day this week to get to know your library. When’s the last time you’ve been there? If it’s been awhile, now is the best time to start. Find out what’s there—you might be pleasantly surprised.
The reasons why libraries are still important and relevant are nearly endless. Browse around this site, watch the video below and learn more how libraries can become a significant part of your life.