Are libraries necessary?

“A house that has a library in it has a soul.” ~ Plato

These days, almost every town and city in America has a public library, and most schools as well. But in this digital age of computers and e-readers, fewer and fewer people seem to be utilizing the amazing resource that is the public library. This begs the question: Are libraries necessary?

I work as a page at the local public library in my town. My job mainly consists of putting away books, organizing shelves, and checking books out for people. The library itself is incredibly tiny, so it doesn’t have the greatest selection of books around. However, until I started working there I had no idea just how many good books it actually had, even though I have always been a frequent library-goer. Since I began working there I’ve noticed that there aren’t very many people who come to the library, and it’s usually the same people who come frequently. I think that part of the problem is that people aren’t aware of just how many great books libraries hold. There are plenty of ads for bookstores and such online, but there’s no way to know what libraries have unless you look in the card catalog or actually go in and look. If there was a way to promote the contents of libraries, I think that more people would go.

Now, to answer the real question: yes, I absolutely believe that libraries are indeed necessary, even more so now in modern society than in the past. The reason I say this is that libraries are capable of letting us experience the true pleasure of reading without distractions like the media, social networking sites, etc. While those things are perfectly fine, it’s important to remember that there are some things in like that computers and screens aren’t able to give us. Holding an iPhone isn’t the same as holding a worn book, flipping the tattered pages as the musty smell of age meets your nose. A TV can’t replace the feeling of walking between two looming bookcases filled with thousands upon thousands of words, ideas, and emotions. Libraries are important, valuable, and necessary because they are constant proof that technology wasn’t always what it is today, and we got along just fine! Sometimes people- especially my generation, the current teenagers- need to be reminded of that fact.

Of course, my strong opinion on this subject is not solely based on society’s need to be reminded of the past- I actually have more practical, common reasons as well. First, libraries are an essential resource for readers who cannot afford to buy their own books. Without libraries, how would these people be able to read the books they want? They might be able to get their hands on a free book here and there, but if they love to read then that won’t be enough. Also, libraries carry books on a multitude of subjects, including many nonfiction topics. This allows people to get information or do research without having to rely on questionable websites online. Lastly, it provides people with a quiet place to read or do other work in an atmosphere that encourages thinking, analyzing, and creating. What more could you as for?

In sum, I strongly believe that libraries are indeed necessary. I realize that this post has been very one-sided and biased, but this is how I feel. Do you agree with me on this topic, or do you have a different opinion? Let me know in the comments section below or tweet me @Nutfreenerd. I’d love to hear your thoughts!





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