What are Libraries For? … In the Library with the Lead Pipe

by Hugh

I have an article in the really great blog, In the Library with a Lead Pipe, which goes something like this:

Ebooks will become the dominant form of casual reading for adults at some point in the future1. When this happens, community and public libraries will face a major existential crisis, because a fundamental (perhaps the fundamental) function of community libraries—lending print books—will no longer be a fundamental demand from the community. Libraries that do not adjust will find their services increasingly irrelevant to the populations they serve.

If ebooks will become dominant, and if community libraries have, to date, structured their existence around a dying function (lending print books), then how will libraries remain relevant in the future?

To find an answer to this conundrum, it’s important to try to understand the reason for a library’s existence, rather than focus on the things a library does.

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