Are Libraries a Thing of the Past?
Libraries were created 5,000 years ago with collections of clay tablets and scrolls containing data according to History Magazine. As more and more countries put their ideas into writing, the need for an organized classification system was needed. Thus, the library was born.
During the medieval ages,Christian monasteries built shelves to hold hundreds of books, and they then allowed members of the church to “lease” the books if they put down a security deposit. Between the 17th and 18th century, libraries began to grow exponentially due to an increase in book production, which led to a decrease in the overall price of books. Libraries gained popularity in the United States when Benjamin Franklin created the “Library Company of Philadelphia,” which focused on America’s history and culture and is believed to be the first successful lending library (History Magazine). According to the American Library Association, there are 120,096 libraries in the U.S. today.
According to Pew Research Center, libraries serve 94% of Americans, but only 54% of Americans have used their library in the past year. AHS has two libraries total, one at each campus. While the libraries are packed with talking students during study hall, few students utilize the library’s before and after school hours. According to Mrs. Musbach, the North campus Librarian at AHS, around 10 students regularly use the library in the before and after school hours, and about 50 books are checked out everyday.
“All of the books are online,” AHS junior Claire Minor says, “so there is no need for me to go to the library anymore.” “I only use the school library for tutoring. I’ve never checked out a book from there,” says Sarah Smith, a junior at AHS. While some students believe that the libraries, particularly school libraries, are a thing of the past, others beg to differ. “I often go to the library to use the ACT and SAT study books, because they are expensive to buy and I don’t want an online version,” says Sarah Smith, an AHS junior.
Tiana Rohe, an AHS varsity gymnast, says she can be found at the library everyday before school. As schools continue to become more technology-enriched learning environments, the idea of physical libraries going away becomes a real possibility. For instance, at AHS a majority of the school work is done on computers. If libraries closed, 91% of Americans believe that it would negatively impact their communities (PEW Research). “I would be disappointed [if libraries went away] due to the fact that it allows me to escape a noisy household when I need to be productive,” says Rohe. “I don’t think that all libraries will go extinct.
Books still have value and libraries are filled with so many more resources for researching than just books. Check it out at the library!” Says Mrs. Musbach.