Evolution of Libraries

The past two decades has been a time of magnificent change in all areas of our society. This, of course, includes in the Digital Technology sector. From personal computers to powerful portable Laptops, it is no surprise that the information sector has had to evolve and adapt to the new expectations of what is a good service and information. Information Technology has played such a key role in allowing academic and research libraries to keep up with the modern era and not be left in the wake of high speed internet overflowing with useful and quality information for any seeker of knowledge.

below is an excerpt from “Diffuse Libraries” by Wendy Pradt Lougee. In this paper The changing role of the Library is discussed. She describes how the Libraries are changing their view on what people can gain from their service in order to still remain relevant in the modern era.

“We see these changes reflected in the library’s shift from:
• emphasizing the value of collections to emphasizing the value of
Expertise
• supporting information description and access to taking responsibility for greater information analysis
• serving as a support agency to serving as a collaborator
• A facility-based enterprise to a campus-wide enterprise”

Libraries face significant challenges if they are to remain relevant and to still retain traditional functions

At the beginning of the 90’s the library was the centre point to all good research and literature. Professionals were always quick to emphasise the importance of this kind of service. The library was a haven to any struggling student and enthusiastic lecturer. But now, with sites like amazon, allowing any willing person to purchase literature and journals, the libraries have adapted their policies to suit the modern user.

The James Hardiman Library, Galway provides students with access to a website in which they can search for literature or papers on a chose topic of study. This allows Students to check the availability of  books in the library from anywhere that has internet access. This is an example of a new service provided by Libraries that collaborates with advancements in the IT sector.

Libraries, since the late 90’s, have been creating websites, linked to the books available in their library. If I were to visit the James Hardiman Library website today I could search the library’s database for any book in order to find its availability. Being a student, I could also get access to these books online. This shows more than anything the libraries desire to adapt and desire to still be a relevant location to any researcher.

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