The local library used to be every neighborhood’s meeting place outside the school for kids across the country. Its halls would be swarming with students during exam periods and filled only by sunlight and echo over the summer vacation. Lately, with the advent of the internet, e-books, and online courses, we cannot help but wonder if people still use libraries.
Technology has its way of making the indispensable obsolete in only a few years. For instance, electronic payment processors like Zeta Finance now make cash payments slow and rudimentary. Soon, we will forget why we even needed coins and bills in the first place. The same thing happens to the way we devour information.
Nowadays, with the world’s fundamental knowledge at our fingertips, a trip to the local library is just madness disguised as nostalgia. So, why did people stop using libraries?
The Internet is Quicker
Google, Wikipedia, and other giant online information databases have made our quest for knowledge a toddler’s play. Today, in just five minutes, you can browse the internet for anything that tickles your curiosity. With a few taps of the button, you can read about the Black Plague, learn how to make marmalade, and discover what kind of fish swim in Lake Tanganyika.
Only a few decades ago, you would have needed at least an hour to find books on each of these subjects in your local library. This activity required you to be there in person browsing through the endless catalogs, picking the books, and waiting for the librarian to fetch them.
No “Search” Button
After getting your hands on the book you needed, you would have to scour avidly for the data you needed. For instance, finding specific information required you to read through several pages. Nowadays, you press the “search” button in a document and skip straight to the part that interests you the most.
Also, in the worst-case scenario, the library may not have what you’re looking for at all. Or, someone else may have borrowed the book you needed only a day before. Alternatively, they may be reading it at a nearby table. So, you have to stare them down until they finish or give up reading only so you can finally satisfy your thirst for knowledge.
Kindles and Page Turners
Lastly, many people find it easier to scroll on a screen than holding a hardback book in their hands. Nowadays, most readers spend their days on smartphones or other electronic devices. So, they are more likely to switch to a reading app than to put the phone down and pick up a book instead.
Also, a Kindle or other e-book reader can contain several thousand books, which would account for a small town’s library. That cool meeting place from the ‘80s now fits in your back pocket. You can access any book, read any author, and educate yourself about any topic in seconds. That’s why some people do not use libraries anymore.