With access to so much information available online, I can see why someone would prefer to hit up a search engine like Google on their lunch break as opposed to going to visit the library after work. I don't remember when the last time I asked a reference question; I always turn to the net and start from their.
If libraries want to remain relevant in the future, they must find a way to reinvent themselves. Here are some suggestions:
- Be flexible and adapt new technologies that are emerging. Our library system is doing that; the Web Challenge is a great step in being committed to that.
- Become and edutainment center. So much of the stigma of libraries is that they are a place for academia. Public libraries should not only be able to provide research help, but an ample selection of media that people want for entertainment purposes.
- Make the library fun. Anyone who has been to a Borders or Barnes and Noble knows that these bookstores are a popular place for people to visit. The library needs to change its image, and be seen as a fun place for people to visit.
What it comes down to is that the library must balance its primary goal of being an information provider with the ability to be flexible and adapt to the world around them. That's what I think, and I'm sticking to it.