Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

The Library Times Are Changing

Bob Dylan could very well be singing the theme song for today’s library.


Are you old enough to remember when libraries only contained books?  I can’t remember back exactly when I noticed that the library went into BB  [beyond books] mode, and I am not sure if it’s a problem or not.

Long time ago when I worked in a middling sized library we held off on offering VHS movies for check out.  Yes, that was a long time ago, wasn’t it?  Our director deliberated for nearly six months whether or not we would incorporate them into our collection because, after all, the library is all about reading, isn’t it?

Counter arguments included: Well then, what about the cassettes we offer?  Not all are  audio books, many are music.

Hmm, that is a good point.

Long story short is VHS movies moved in on the shelves and *Surprise!*–people kept checking out books. People aren’t going to stop reading books.  Even when given options. Yes, I do believe this

As much as I would like to be a purist and spout: Books Only! I realized today’s libraries, like any smart enterprise, has learned to diversify in order to serve the changing public needs and tastes.

Go into any library today and you will find computer labs, video games, DVD collections, and other options among the shelves.  It hasn’t gone so far as this one cartoon portrays though:

I admittedly check out DVDs, audio books, music, magazines, and even video games (for others I know).  Of course, I rarely leave without at least one book in my bag.

Are the times a-changing too drastically? I figure the library is a reflection of current society.  Right now we are currently into media which translates into both entertainment and information. The library folk are savvy enough to know it’s best to provide in order to survive.

So, Bob D–sing through those lyrics one more time, wouldja?

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3 thoughts on “The Library Times Are Changing

  1. I wonder what those librarians in the ancient Alexandria, Egypt, library would think if they saw a library of our century? I dream about things like this!

  2. Pingback: Libraries, Lessons and Learning | Inside Out Cafe

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