When you think of libraries chances are you’ll think of books. This is by no means the wrong answer as for hundreds and thousands of years, libraries have been a ready source of books. However, as with everything, libraries have changed with the times and technologies. Such steady progression has seen many new features added to the repertoires of libraries, with new services being added and older one being updated.
To give an example, many libraries now offer a wide range of services such as:
- Online catalogues.
- eBook collections.
- Digital magazines.
- Digital music collections (often restricted to a number of downloads a fortnight).
- Online access to newspapers and their archives.
- Family history services and specific website access.
- 3D printing.
- Nation wide inter library loans.
- Cultural collections (digitised or physical).
- Free wifi.
- Free computer access.
- Prints of images from the collections (eg Fie arts prints).
- Some libraries also have on site cafes.
- Home delivery services.
- Multilingual collections.
- Author events.
- Children’s programs.
- Technology education classes.
- Book club groups.
These new and evolved services are purely examples, with each library and its offered services being different. Although why certainly, some libraries may have all of these services, others may only offer a few of them. In addition, the existence of special libraries which house more focused and subject based collections, has opened up an even larger opportunities for library users. Where before you would have to physically travel to a special library collection, or have the information scanned and sent to you, the digitalisation of special library collections has meant that you can now access the resources online.
Just as the creation of the Internet and the World Wide Web has revolutionised the way in which we live, so too has it greatly affected the services that libraries can offer. So next time you think about purchasing an eBook, or buying a magazine subscription, why not check out your local library and see what they have to offer.