Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Whither the Library?...

by Teresa Fisher

 ”It is easy to assume that because libraries have successfully existed for so long that they always will exist” states a recent article entitled Surviving disruptive technologies in the CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) magazine.

The article, written by a librarian, Jacqui Widdowson, goes on to remind us that “from Alexandria to Oxford, libraries are woven into the history of civilisation” and how “libraries have had a place in society for almost as long as human societies have existed”.

It’s true, libraries are a well-recognised ‘brand’… but so were Borders bookshops, Kodak and Blockbuster, who each went bust in 2010, 2012 and 2013 respectively.  What went wrong?  It would seem they all failed to respond sufficiently and positively to such  new technologies as e-books, Amazon and social media. 

These new technologies, together with the trends for fast information at our fingertips, next-day delivery and the ceaseless desire for convenience, also mean that libraries need to look forward and embrace the new technologies, but without losing the positive, enduring book-based associations that have enabled libraries to thrive for so long. Our books in the PGS Libraries – in excess of 25 thousand, whether textbooks, reference books, periodicals, non-fiction or fiction -- remain the mainstay of our schooling, but we are also now fortunate to have all the benefits of digital technology to enhance our Libraries and, thus, our educational experience.

In the case of Borders, Kodak and Blockbuster, it seems they each fell victim to the old adage “evolve or fail.” 

In the PGS Library we are working hard to evolve.  We have enviable facilities, comprising the Memorial Library, the New Library, the Project Room and now the new 6th form library area – a beautiful space for private study.  Pupils can use their own devices for study purposes in all library areas.  We are continually looking at new ways to improve our facilities and welcome feedback or suggestions from staff or pupils.  

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