Evolution of the Library

by NYC Firm Schools on January 26, 2010

The technology in our children’s classrooms is constantly changing, but few places is that evolution more apparent than in the libraries. As adults, we expect changes in how classrooms look and feel and show surprisingly little reaction to advances made, but the almost sacred grounds of the library are often a focal point for parent’s recognition of change.

Libraries Anchored in a Sea of Change

Why are libraries so often the first thing people think of when they discuss changes in schools? Maybe it is because the library was one of the few areas in our own youths that did not change. Books, books and more books, on every shelf and in every row, broken up only occasionally by some clunky, seldom used audio/visual equipment. The library, for many adults, did not change throughout their generation.

There are still books in rows and shelves, but the ability to gain incalculable access in unprecedented time has re-made how information is gained and processed. Library technology has become a powerful tool instead of a den of information locked inside a card catalog. Card catalogs have made their way to Library catalogs, which include millions of E-texts and fast access to materials from other libraries and collections. Cross referencing and searching put the information you need at your fingertips. Thanks to tireless work by thousands, much printed work is now available on the internet, broadening a library’s catalog from what is on the shelves to what is on everyone’s shelves.

A Gathering for Debate

For decades, libraries had become slightly darkened, greatly hushed dens for study, research and learning. The new generation library resembles more of a gathering of debaters and philosophers, with a dynamic learning process that takes full advantage of what history has brought to the table. Discussion and debate are once again common sights in libraries across the world, a visible reminder of the continued evolution of education.

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