Our Children’s Library Experience
Only a generation ago, libraries represented something almost magical to their patrons, especially children. Before the internet put access to all of the knowledge a person can ever use at his fingertips, libraries were storehouses of the greatest content available, all of it within reach for free. People of a certain age can recall fond stories of going to the library and getting their first library cards, which were essentially passports to unlimited entertainment and education.
Now, libraries are facing crisis-level budget problems, largely due to the fact that city governments assess the number of library visits per year as the benchmark for determining how much funding should be allotted to the library. As patrons continue to turn elsewhere for their content—free or otherwise—libraries who do not have in place a solid structure for virtual patronage accounting find themselves at a loss when trying to explain to their city councils why they should continue to receive funding.
But this shift in the function of the library doesn’t have to go the way of drive-in movies or county fairs. While some patrons may associate a certain level of nostalgia with going to the library with their parents, today’s parents and children can still experience the importance of libraries and all of the things that make libraries great, even with the growing transition to digital.
As a quiet time activity, parents and kids can still curl up together and select reading material that speaks to their interests and ability levels, regardless of the where this time physically takes place. Some families enjoy the focused and intentional effort of going to the library, browsing the shelves together, and sitting in a quiet reading space to enjoy the books. Others who are less able to set apart this time due to physical proximity or schedule conflicts can easily adapt a digital lending model to this kind of togetherness by reading together virtually anywhere, whether it’s at home, at a park, even while waiting for another family member’s activities to wrap up.
More importantly, libraries make the educational process more relevant, at least where families are concerned. A time existed when a parent and student had to enter a physical library to complete school project-related reference research, but now that process can take place at home or away. While a student received help from a parent in finding and selecting material on a device that supports his homework, parents can click over to find quality and up-to-date books, magazines, and newspapers for themselves and have them accessed directly from their own devices.
While there is still something to be said for the experience of finding a book and reading it together, parents and their children may actually find they have more time for this type of togetherness activity once the content is available at the touch of a button.
To learn more about our library solutions for public, academic and special libraries, visit our website here.