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Challenges and Opportunities for Libraries in the Network Age

ChallengesandOpportunitiesforLibrariesintheNetworkAge

When you think of libraries, you probably picture shelves of books, librarians and kids working on homework. But today, libraries and librarians are a doing a lot more than you might think.

You see, libraries are not only about books. The real focus of every library is information.For most of their history, that information lived in books, magazines and periodicals. So libraries and librarians became experts at organizing and understanding how to get the right information out of these resources.

This is still the case today, but things are changing quickly. We now live in the information age and we have access to more information than ever before. Now huge amounts of information also live on the Internet, in databases, apps and more. Unfortunately, more isn’t always better.

Finding trustworthy information and high quality research can be a challenge. And search engines can only do so much. That’s why libraries matter now more than ever. The same libraries and librarians who helped us organize and understand books have transitioned to helping us find information wherever it exists.

Today librarians are still amazing book-finders - but they are also teachers and technologists. They are expert navigators of information and focus on helping people build new, useful skills, like how to do online research or search job listings effectively.Librarians work to help communities and students become more digitally literate. And libraries have changed too. Most provide free access to the Internet via on-site computers and/or wifi.

Today many libraries have comprehensive websites that allow you to access resources like research databases that would be difficult to access otherwise. You may even be able to check-out books online, or borrow electronic books that display on your e-reader.

It’s easy to think that the Internet might have made libraries obsolete, but thankfully, it’s quite the opposite. The Internet has provided libraries a new, effective way to do what they do best - help students and the community find what they need to be productive, online and off.

The next time you need quality information, help with a project or to develop a new skill or hobby, go to your local library and ask a librarian. They’re happy to help and really good at what they do.