Why public libraries are needed

In the age of digital media many bos are available for free on services like Google Bos or can be bought as cheap e-bo versions on .com. Those on services are competing with public libraries. Especially young persons with a high technic-affinity don’t choose ed bos as their first choice any longer. However public libraries are still needed.

Google’s book service has a lot of books but often some pages are missing or you find only the cover of a book. Indeed it is very hard to find books for children or well-known novels. The service has its strength on scientific books. So for children there is no chance to use this free online library. They have to buy a book or go to the local library.

It is right that you don’t have a search mask in a public library, but the books are structured in an understandable system and you could ask librarians for help. Maybe they even recommend a book for you which is better than your original choice. Normally libraries update their inventory regularly so that you can find even the newest books.

Stockholm Public Library

Stockholm Public Library | Foto: Samantha Marx, CC-BY via flickr

Even for students or scientists public libraries are the better proposition because many libraries offer them working room for free where they can study and make notes. They can do their research in a quiet atmosphere and can be sure not to be disturbed by incoming e-mails or telephone calls. Furthermore they don’t have to pay for expansive specialized books.

If you buy a book in an e-book store you even have to buy an e-book reader or risk an uncomfortable reading position in front of the screen of a desktop pc or a notebook. Today it is still exhausting to read texts on screens instead of paper.

In the end there is something that no electronic book can offer its readers – the haptic of a printed book. The feeling of turning over a few pages, flicking forward and backward while you are searching a certain paragraph or page and the smell of printer’s ink can’t be simulated on a technical device.

Thema: Warum öffentliche Bibliotheken benötigt werden (Text in englischer Sprache). Der Beitrag entstand im Rahmen des Seminars International Journalism II an der Hochschule Darmstadt.


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