The roll of today’s public library is somewhat confusing. People have access to much of the same information at home, so why bother with the library at all, many ask themselves. It’s up to the the library (and its librarians!) to show people how the library can remain both relevant and important in their communities. New technologies such as social media sites can help libraries promote themselves. Blogs are a way for a library to keep its readership updated and interested, since its blogs offer a long enough format to provide real information about new sources or new events at the library. Links to Twitter and Facebook accounts make use of other types of social media, and help libraries branch out and reach as many users as possible.
Adapting to change certainly isn’t easy. But some libraries do it with eloquence and ease. Others fumble a bit, and perhaps miss the mark, and could use to learn from those who do it well. TheSocialNetworkingLibrarian provides a useful post titled “How Libraries Can Really Use Social Media to Make a Difference and Reach Their Patrons,” that gives some helpful tips to libraries struggling to use new media tools.
There is much discussion in society today about the role of libraries in the coming years. Some think libraries will be phase out entirely. Personally I disagree, although I do think libraries will be different. In a Make Magazine blog post, Phillip Torrone discusses the potential for “TechShops,” particularly as more libraries digitize their collections and have the necessary room. Many such spaces are currently member-based, so many people cannot afford access. If libraries were to take on an educational role and provide necessary space, it could become yet another way for libraries to connect with users.