I’m getting a kindle in the mail on monday because books are too bulky for my commute. One reason it has taken me so long to get a kindle is I don’t buy books, I rent them from the library. Once I get my kindle I want to try out the e-book service my local library has. I have no idea how that works but I’m excited to try it out.
I started thinking about what’s going to happen to libraries in the next decade. Sure, now everyone claims that they still want paper books. Right now we still need them. But in 10 years…so much can happen with technology in 10 years, and I really feel that books are going to be a dying art. Even with an e-book rental system, soon enough we are all going to realize we shouldn’t have to go to the actual library to rent an e-book. But libraries are a great resource to a community. They host important community events and they are a safe, quite and friendly place to learn and do research. I love libraries and I would hate to seem them die out along with paper books.
That’s why I am making the analogy that libraries need to become the new MTV. MTV, which stands for Music Television, devotes maybe 8% of its airtime to music videos and music related content. They realized they can get much higher ratings when they show bizarrely addictive reality television shows about guidos and teen moms. Music television may be a dying art, but MTV isn’t dying with it.
I want to see libraries remain just as strong. I’m obviously not saying libraries need Snooki and JWow to stay current. But instead of devoting most of their energy to books, I hope libraries are able to realized what is most valuable to their communities and focus on that. Libraries can offer their community state of the art technology, valuable classes and programs, kindle rentals, e-book clubs. Paper books will always have a certain niche… children’s books for example really are best in paper form. (What is childhood without a few books on the shelf with bite marks from when you were two? You can’t do that to an iPad!) And I’m sure a library will always embrace paper books. But I hope they can change with the times and create a new system for themselves so they stay a timeless and valuable part of our society long after paper books are removed from the shelves. It might seem weird for a library to focus on technology more than books, but MTV is doing just fine with little focus on music.