From the rows of computers to digital learning spaces, technology is transforming libraries.
No longer a vast collection of dusty books and card files; libraries are thriving in a technology fueled world, offering digital books, music, videos and computer training, all for free.
“I think it’s crucial. I’m on low income and I can’t afford to subscribe to newspapers. I read the newspaper through their digital services.”
Five years ago Hamilton’s Public Library underwent a major renovation.
Today the building has become a hub of technology with free wifi, state of the art computers and thousands of e-books.
Membership – once on the decline- is on the rebound, and digital downloads of music, videos and of course books are soaring.
“In 2010 we circulated 34,000 eBooks; last year we circulated 944,000.”
Computers, digital media labs and 3-D printers are all available at the Hamilton Public Library. So too are one on one tutorials and group training sessions for anyone interested in improving their digital skills.
“I think given how much we rely on technology in our day to day lives now it’s essential that libraries are acting as a community beacon a community hub to offer things that people are looking for.”
“When I retired about 14 years ago I got my own computer, but then other interests took place, but now i’m coming here and I’m really enjoying the experience again.”
The digital age has produced significant challenges for the library but 125 years after first opening it’s doors it promises to be more relevant than ever.
The question that we’ve always focused on as a public library is what skills do people need to succeed in the modern economy and to participate in society?
The question hasn’t changed in 125 years but the answer has evolved.