Cat asleep in a library

20 Feb A world without libraries

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It’s now possible to imagine a world without libraries.

It’s a sad thought.

I love libraries but I haven’t needed to borrow a book in years. I still have a state library card for Tasmania. It’s tucked away in my purse along with my Blockbuster card which I too have no use for. I’ve thought about throwing them away-as they are taking up valuable card space- but I can’t bring myself to do it.


It’s a reminder of how far technology has come.

I no longer rely on non-fiction books for my studies. Instead I use online journals and publications for a number of reasons: they contain the most recent information, are accessible from home 24-7, are peer reviewed and I can use a key word search to quickly establish if they have the information I need.  The library in comparison has limited copies of books, borrowing times and various classification systems. If I had to decide between online databases and a library I’d choose databases.

As I’ve mentioned before reading has been a big part of my life and I go crazy if I don’t relax with a book. I used to borrow fiction books from the library by the bag full but now I find myself either buying them for a few dollars at a second hand bookstore or downloading them on my kindle in a matter of minutes. Speed, ease of access and limitless titles on online book stores means I no longer rely on libraries to get my fix. I even have my own virtual library now as my friends and I loan our kindle books with each other.

While I can accept (just) that we may find ourselves in a world without libraries I wonder what, if anything, will take their place.

Although we were once drawn to libraries based on our desire for knowledge I think we are also seeking a sense of community– a space to discuss ideas or simply sit quietly surrounded by others.

As we spend more time building our online communities I can’t help but think we are neglecting real world ones. Where will we go when we are seeking social interaction if community spaces like libraries are gone? Maybe I’m being selfish. I don’t even use libraries so why should I care? I do because I have the best of both worlds. And future generations may not.


Featured image by Rachel Kurzyp.

Rachel Kurzyp

Rachel Kurzyp combines her knowledge of storytelling and digital technology to help brands build their digital story and disrupt the status quo.

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