Thoughts of technology and libraries are not two topics that generally coincide. When we think of technology we tend to think of the sleek, shiny, and new. Libraries, regardless of how much we love books, tend to bring about thoughts of old, dusty, and bulky things.
However, the two have actually melded together quite well. Libraries have made significant advancements that have pulled them out of the dusty archives. In fact, many of these changes have placed libraries at the top of the list of technical hubs. Libraries today just aren’t what they used to be.
The Digital Frontier
Libraries have been evolving over the past decade in order to remain an epicenter of information for all of their patrons. The majority have incorporated computer centers (over 85 percent offer wireless services) and e-libraries, which allow patrons to check out books on their electronic devices. Best of all, most of these services are offered for the same price as traditional library services and can typically be covered with the purchase of a library card.
Changes such as these are just the beginning of how libraries have changed at their very core. Many have expanded services by storing digital collections in the cloud, making their resources available to people all over the world. This has enabled even small libraries to showcase their collections and has made it easier for researchers to visit all local archives.
The role of the modern librarian has also changed significantly. Gone are the days where librarians are known for ‘shushing’ people and helping navigate the Dewey Decimal System. Today’s librarians are the holders of massive technical databases of information and are monumental resources for research. Furthermore, they are happy to share their knowledge.
Becoming a successful librarian, or information systems manager as it were, takes a great deal more education than it used to as well. The majority obtain a master’s degree in library science, which is focused intensely on becoming an expert at finding and researching information on any topic. Some information specialists and database administrators earn upwards of $70,000 annually.
Libraries are one of a few niches that many thought would become irrelevant with the advent of technology. However, rather than remaining trapped in the past, libraries have adapted and remained not only relevant, but true to their purpose: being a resource base and record keeper for the world’s knowledge.
Use of today’s libraries and librarians provides a profound benefit to anyone working in academic research, or even just browsing for some light reading. Online channels have even made it possible for librarians to offer assistance to patrons accessing information from across the globe. If one thing is for certain, it is that libraries and technology actually go hand in hand.