Why Libraries are Still Relevant

Evelyn Streit, Columnist

In a steadily growing digital age, physical libraries are becoming less and less utilized, but there are many reasons as to why they are still relevant. Libraries go far beyond a couple of musty old bookshelves and a group of computers; they provide a safe and inspirational place for young people, allow students to get their work done, and help to bring the community together.

First off, the library is a place for underprivileged people to learn to read. Some don’t have access to things like a fancy tablet or even just a functional computer, but luckily, many libraries offer normal paper books as well as computers. These resources help people to get work done and develop vital skills such as reading and typing. Also, according to the New York Times, the library is a common place for immigrants to learn English and for people in search of jobs to create resumes. Another way that kids in particular are indebted to the library is simply by having a safe place to go to after school. Some parents work long hours during the week, and their children need to be able to go somewhere after school. This is especially important to kids in Arizona who want to take refuge from the heat in a cool, air-conditioned building, and the library creates the perfect place with the perfect setting: quiet, clean, and free.

Following this, the overall quiet atmosphere of the library can turn out to be really helpful in getting work done. I know that it is easy to get distracted by things at home or in public areas because of the noise, social media, and other factors. The library, however, seems to take all of that away. For myself, the area I choose to try and get homework done in really influences the actual amount that I complete. Homework is a big part of a student’s grade in many classes, and I have noticed that a library or study hall really sets the tone for what your goal is: to get work done.

The library doesn’t have to solely be a workplace though. It is also a center of the community; libraries will often hold events like book clubs or other social activities that encourage people to come together and have a good time. For example, according to the Phoenix Public Library, they will be having a “Builders Club” on Saturday, May 12, 2018. The library has this club every second Saturday of the month from 10:30 a.m. to noon, and kids can come to build with many different materials like Legos or tinker toys. Then, the best buildings will be displayed at the library the following month. So, libraries are working to educate people, and show that learning can actually be fun.

Yes, it is true that there are other ways to get information that don’t require going to a library, like reading the news on your smartphone or computer. But, as stated before, some people don’t have access to the internet, and libraries are crucial to their lives. Some might also say that digital libraries will be able to replace materialistic ones, but most libraries already have computers in them, and if that were the case, then where would things like book clubs or children read-alouds be held?

It may seem that in our current electronic-based lives that actual libraries are becoming obsolete, but clearly they are still an important place for many and will continue to be for years in the future.