Our branch library is renovating next week and we’ll be closed for the duration. It’s amazing how many people instantly assume that Library Closed means permanently.
There’s a cultural view in the community that libraries will soon be redundant as going online becomes easier for everyone and information sites become more reliable. I don’t see it myself, our stats for everything (door count, borrowings, holds, participation on events) are up and we find ourselves (excitedly) providing gateways to information that people simply couldn’t afford (like periodical databases). In conjunction with that we’re doing more with other community groups (schools, early childhood, senior citizens, family support networks) in providing one off and regular programs.
So are the renovations at my branch library just window dressing for a service that’s in it’s declining years or (as I see it) is it just council looking after a valuable asset. I know what the people who have come in this week would say. They were all very ready to go into battle to save their library and that’s all that really matters in the end.