Aspen Report on Libraries in the Digital Age

Although we live in an era where it is more common to buy an e-book than borrow a book from a library, or fall asleep scrolling on our smartphones rather than turning the pages of a book, public libraries have kept up with the quick transition to the digital age while continuing to be a multifaceted community wide resource.

People often believe that the digitization of books, archives and other materials is synonymous with the decline of public library usage as well as their necessity.  This belief is incorrect as public libraries themselves are a pillar in the stronghold of the digital world by offering technology classes, a quiet place with free wi-fi and other resources that align with their host communities’ varying needs.

A recent report by the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries reveals that in this digital age, libraries still hold relevance and importance as they play a vital role in communities and their development/health. This report analyzes the challenges that libraries currently face while offering solutions and projections for the future of libraries.

Public libraries bring communities together by education, engaging and empowering their members by offering reliable services and resources of both the past and present.  The widespread benefits of public libraries are seen in the enthusiastic reading habits of citizens of the Czech Republic, a country that has one library for every 1,971 citizens, as found in a report by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

It is important to erase the common misconception that public libraries are merely a place to store books, but rather incredible community resources that are keeping up in this ever changing digital age.

You can discuss the future of libraries at our public debate on October 4!


Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries report, Rising to the Challenge can be found in English and in Czech.

 

 

Share this on social media

Support Aspen Institute

The support of our corporate partners, individual members and donors is critical to sustaining our work. We encourage you to join us at our roundtable discussions, forums, symposia, and special event dinners.