Zócalo Public SquareWhy Libraries’ Survival Matters – Zócalo Public Square http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org Ideas Journalism With a Head and a Heart Fri, 24 Nov 2017 08:01:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 Why Libraries’ Survival Mattershttp://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2016/09/29/libraries-survival-matters/ideas/up-for-discussion/ http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2016/09/29/libraries-survival-matters/ideas/up-for-discussion/#respond Thu, 29 Sep 2016 07:01:24 +0000 zocalo http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/?p=79100 The internet as we know has been around for over 25 years, but we’re only beginning to grapple with how it is fundamentally changing our daily lives. More than society being “disrupted,” some cultural hallmarks—handwritten letters, record stores, newspapers—already seem to be quaint artifacts of the way we were. At first glance, libraries, too, seem destined for the dustbin of history, unable to compete with the convenience of accessing books, expertise, and media instantly on any portable smart device. Of course, as we argue in our Inquiry, Why Libraries Will Shape the Future, the purpose of libraries and librarians—to disseminate information—is more relevant than ever in the internet age. But what of the physical spaces, which Mark Twain called “the most enduring of memorials, the trustiest monument for the preservation of an event or a name or an affection; for it, and it only, is respected by wars and revolutions, and survives them?” Will these institutions that once helped define …

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The internet as we know has been around for over 25 years, but we’re only beginning to grapple with how it is fundamentally changing our daily lives. More than society being “disrupted,” some cultural hallmarks—handwritten letters, record stores, newspapers—already seem to be quaint artifacts of the way we were. At first glance, libraries, too, seem destined for the dustbin of history, unable to compete with the convenience of accessing books, expertise, and media instantly on any portable smart device.

Of course, as we argue in our Inquiry, Why Libraries Will Shape the Future, the purpose of libraries and librarians—to disseminate information—is more relevant than ever in the internet age. But what of the physical spaces, which Mark Twain called “the most enduring of memorials, the trustiest monument for the preservation of an event or a name or an affection; for it, and it only, is respected by wars and revolutions, and survives them?” Will these institutions that once helped define communities still exist? And why should they?

In advance of “Do Libraries Have a Future?” a Zócalo Public Square event in partnership with WeHo Reads, we asked eight writers to reflect on the most memorable library they ever visited, what it meant to them, and whether it should exist in 100 years.

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