The Evolution of the Library: What has it become?

By: Cerella Ferebee

Next month National Library week will take place April 8 to 14, but has the state of the library today changed for better or for worse? Last week before midterms started, I was in the library studying and I was shocked at the noise level. The library had transformed into a playground and a home for one person who decided to take their shoes off to get comfortable. Is it just me or has the library changed into a breeding ground for conversations and announcement halls for those using their cell phones?

S.R. Ranganathan was an inventor, educator, librarian, philosopher, and mathematician. Ranganathan created the five laws of library science, one of which was that the library is a growing organism. This may be true, because throughout time the library has continued to adopt new technologies.  Although the library has many facets of change, I feel that the same traditions should be instilled within the library community. Libraries have lost that ‘silence is golden’ tradition.

Similar complaints have taken the notice of librarians and students across the nation. Libraries aren’t the same as they use to be. My mother even said that during her youth the library was a place where people kept their voices down, and if they didn’t the librarian would give them a “Shhh!” This change may be due to the presence of computer technology and in hopes of gaining more revenue libraries started to offer CD’s and Films.

Students are now using their cell phones and iPods while studying, which may cause a distraction for some who can’t concentrate with noise. Since computer labs have taken the place of books; today books can be purchased or read online. The noise level has increased because reading on computers involves skimming. The skimming leads to easy distraction and talking on a cellphone or the person at the next computer. However, reading a book requires silence in order to concentrate.

Last weekend, I spent time studying at a local library. As people passed through, they spoke very loud as if they were outside or on the cell phone. I felt that I shouldn’t have to get a quiet room because the library as a whole should be in silence.

Another reason for the nosiness could be the lack of staff. Because there is so little staff, the librarians aren’t present to enforce the rules. Due to the postmodern library’s change with technology and economic shortcomings it will continue to alter the traditional conditions of the modern library, we all use to know and love.

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