Over the past ten years, I’ve been asked the above question by countless friends and colleagues, as well as a slew of similar questions:
Will there still be paper books in 5 years?
Do you think Librarians are still needed?
Do people still use libraries?
Why do we need a library when we have the Internet?
My defense for libraries and librarians is intertwined: Libraries and the Internet are both repositories of a wealth of information which librarians help people sort through. Part of a librarians role has always been to guide patrons to their informational needs: to find the perfect book, primary source, valid website, etc. The need for this role continues today. And without libraries many people would not have access to the vast amount of information (both physical and online) available today.
While the questions about the future of libraries are sure to continue, I am hopeful that the recent resurgence of libraries in many cities and schools (see below) will allow people to experience firsthand the importance of libraries.
Check out the 2013 Library Design Showcase Building the Future