DoNow: Are Physical Libraries Obsolete?


The Winnipeg Public Library Book Bike!

Do Now
Are physical libraries still useful? Should ebooks replace paper books? Why or why not? #DoNowLibraries

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For over 5,000 years, libraries have been here to help us in many ways. But now with technology taking over, what will become of the thousands of libraries across the world?

Public libraries are a great resource for everybody. Whether you are a child, or a college student, anyone can use them. It’s free to get a library card, and if you’re under 18 you just need a legal guardian’s permission. Speaking of children, physical libraries are better for kids than ebooks for many reasons. “Children should read a printed book for their first read” says Monique, who is a librarian at the Millennium Library in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Children haven’t fully developed their brains, and reading and being around people is one of the best ways for children to grow. Reading is a skill everyone can use, and it’s best that children are exposed to the world of books.

But even with libraries being as useful as they are, ebooks are starting to get more and more popular. Ebooks are easier to travel with, cheaper, and are better for the earth. Although they seem like the best option, ebooks aren’t really the best for our health. The light from devices can cause eye strain, resulting in damaged eyes. Along with all those positive points, there are some disadvantages of ebooks. Devices only have a certain amount of battery life before you must charge them again, and on top of that, not everyone can afford a device. Ebooks also have an unreliable lifespans, when books can last for up to a hundred years, when kept in the right environment.

But if ebook popularity continues to grow, what will become of physical libraries and the people that work in them? According to Monique, librarians and library technicians are very important to the community, more than one would think. Their job, one of many, is to help people in the library to find books and specific information, and often they can give more information than expected. If we rule out libraries, we rule out librarians and we lose a powerful resource. They are able to access many books and are very knowledgeable about books to recommend to others. They are also a great person to have a conversation with. Librarians are something that we can’t lose.

Here is an interview with City of Winnipeg librarian Monique Woroniak who can help us with these questions:

What will become of libraries? Will ebook popularity continue to grow and takeover? Are physical libraries still useful? Should ebooks replace physical books?


In the Digital Age, What Becomes of the Library?

School Libraries Struggle with E-Book Loans

12 thoughts on “DoNow: Are Physical Libraries Obsolete?

  1. Both options have their pros and their cons, in spite of that i personally think the traditional old school paperback and libraries are the better option. Switching to ebooks mean saving more trees and having easier access to a book you may need for class, for fun, etc. On the contrast having a physical copy of a book feels more comfortable and keeps you away from other distractions online that your ebook may have access to as well. In addition ebooks can also be very harsh to your eyes whereas with books the only harm it can bring is paper cuts and bad vision if you’re reading in bad light. to continue my statements, through the internet you are able to find the answer to nearly any question in the world, whereas with regular books it tests your critical thinking and understanding of concepts, theories and statements. Although it appears to be more challenging it’s definitely beneficial for growth and testing yourself with actual learning. Technology has come extremely far throughout generations but libraries should always be the #1 resource for students’ projects, the reasoning for that is because the internet can be used for great and terrible things, false information being an example. That’s why books and libraries should still remain the biggest “thing” around as a resource because not just anyone can replace the information and provide false information.

  2. I do believe that in a certain time we will move away from traditional books and use e-books as the norm. A really good example of a change similar is the movies in DVD’s, people thought that DVD’s (books) were much better than online movies (ebooks). Soon after people found it much easier to watch movies online and streaming rather than the disks. Now Big DVD sellers like Blockbuster is bankrupt due to their loss of sales. Adding to that we humans are always advancing into the future, before DVD’s were replaced, DVD’s actually replaced the VHS and VHS possibly replaced something too. Wedon’t use a horse for transportation, we now use cars because we find it more convenient. We always try to find what’s best and simpler for our everyday lives, so I think that there is a great chance of Books becoming obsolete.
    On the other hand we should still use books, there are some books that ebooks cannot duplicate. A book that requires more than the sense of sight, for example, a children’s book with different textures that requires the sense of touch, or a scratch and sniff book I personally loved that required the sense of smell. Adding to that you can have your books for life (if you take care of it), books are also great to share, where people can read the same book over and over. Whereas in sharing e-books you might even go to jail for copywriting, just because you wanted to send your copy of the book. That’s why we should keep our libraries, libraries are free where people can just borrow a book, and it is much more knowledgeable finding real research in a book than just typing a few words in Google search. In the end, I still don’t know which to choose, because both have their pros and cons, but I definitely am excited of whats going to happen in the near futuredding to that you can have your books for life (if you take care of it), books are also great to share, where people can read the same book over and over. Whereas in sharing e-books you might even go to jail for copywriting, just because you wanted to send your copy of the book. That’s why we should keep our libraries, libraries are free where people can just borrow a book, and it is much more knowledgeable finding real research in a book than just typing a few words in Google search. In the end, I still don’t know which to choose, because both have their pros and cons, but I definitely am excited of whats going to happen in the near future.

  3. I think that we still need physical libraries because librarians are always a good source of information also eBooks are hard on the eyes and when the eBooks stop working you cant just tape them up, then you would have to start reading a real book anyways.

  4. As a class, Sara’s Advisory came up with two defined resolutions in relation to this topic and brainstormed arguments for and against each resolution. Here are the results of our class discussion.

    First, we resolved that “Physical libraries, all over the world, are still useful to people”.

    Arguments for this resolution included:
    The experience of going to a library is a valuable experience.
    It’s cheaper to read real books from a library to gain knowledge and education.
    Reading real books in a library is better for your eyes.
    Libraries provide employment to others.
    Some, but not all libraries already supply ebooks.

    Arguments against this resolution included:
    Books are made of trees, and cutting down trees is harmful to the environment.
    Constantly supplying new books is costly.
    Books need replacing, ebooks don’t.
    Library space could be used in a better way (to provide housing to the homeless, for example).
    It is easier to find books online, rather than in a library.
    It is more convenient to get an ebook from home, rather than go to a library.

    Second, we resolved that “Ebooks should replace paper books in Maples Met School.”

    Arguments for this resolution included:
    This process would save trees.
    Eye strain in the dark occurs when reading paper books but not ebooks
    It is faster and easier to find an ebook when searching.
    Ebooks are more convenient and not as heavy to carry as many.
    Audio books are also a good option that ebooks provide.
    Digital storage doesn’t take up as much space and Maples Met doesn’t have a lot of room for books.

    Arguments against this resolution included:
    If there is no power available, ebooks would not work.
    Screen time can be harmful to your health (eye strain).
    The initial investment is large in terms of purchasing the ebooks.
    Ebooks use more energy than books.
    Paper books can last much longer than ebook technology.
    If you loose an ebook, you loos all of the books on it.

  5. Yes, I think physical libraries are still useful because if you think about it, it’s better in a lot of ways, sure it has its cons but I like to believe there’s more pros than cons. First of all the books are better for your eyes and thinking now ebooks uses your devices and staying on your devices are bad for your eyes. Second, I believe it’s good because, it gives you exercise while going to a library. Sure it’s a hassle to go to the library back and forth but you get exercise from it. Another reason why I think physical libraries are better than Ebooks and why ebooks shouldn’t replace books are because of the librarians. Librarians are an excellent source of knowledge and are awesome people to talk to. If you were looking for recommendation for a book you could also ask a librarian for it. Unlike Ebooks, you can’t really ask it for what books you can have for recommendation.

  6. Physical libraries are still needed today because it has a culture that can’t be replicated. People go to the library to: hang out, study, read and experience books. E-books are good for the environment but a physical copy is better to the eyes and the sensation of holding a book. Physical libraries are something a lot of people would’t want to give up.

  7. To be completely honest, I think that both Physical Libraries and e- books are a great idea. Physical Libraries are splendid because, you could hold a physical copy of the book. Also, if we demolish libraries, some citizens would not be able to read books for no cost, thus making them not as educated as the more privileged ones.It’s a excellent way for people to borrow and read a good book for no cost at all. But on the downside is that it takes thousands of trees to produce the books that libraries have. e-books are also pretty great because, you have all your books in a small tablet. It’s also more portable than a traditional book, since the tablet is thinner. Downside to the tablet is that it’s costly to buy a tablet that not all people can afford one. It’s also a lot more harsh on the eyes, thus straining our eyes, and more people wearing glasses. If you lose the tablet, all your books that you’ve purchase would be gone, which is quite unfortunate. In conclusion, it’s 50-50 for me. They both have their advantages and disadvantages. It’s based on your own personal preference.

  8. Both ebooks and libraries have pros and cons, but I believe that libraries are much more useful than ebooks. Physical books are better for your eyes, ebooks consists of blue light, which could cause a long-term damage to your eyes. Some people prefer reading a physical book rather than using their device to read. I prefer reading a book rather than using my device, because I know that my eyes will soon start hurting if I keep reading through a device that contains blue light. As for me, I love going to the library. I love the environment and being in that place because I know I can easily get work done. A lot of university students spend their time in the library to study or do work. So if we stop using books and start using ebooks, what will happen to libraries? How about librarians? What will happen to them? Yes, technology will be taking over the world soon, but also think about the younger generations. I believe that raising a child through physical books and hands-on activities will build a better relationship -not only with their parents- but with the environment and nature. I have baby cousins who are growing up through technology. None of them are actually aware of what is happening around them. They would always ask for a phone to use or they’d just keep their head down low facing their device. Overall, I believe that we should be using more physical books rather than ebooks.

  9. although books are becoming more and more dated and seeming obsolete there still perfectly useful. the fatal flaw of technology is it’s battery life. all devices need power and eventually your device will die, books however don’t require power and are available to read 24/7. I would rather have my information on a book then a device.

  10. Well I think physical libraries are useful because they do not have any disadvantage while eBooks can affect your eyes. Although eBooks are accessible which is an advantage of that but right now we do not have any way to figure out how to make physical libraries’ books accessible, it will be better for us if we can find the way by keep trying to make physical libraries accessible otherwise we should use eBooks during travels and use physical books of libraries whenever living somewhere. Although I think we should use physical books more than eBooks to stay better and healthier.

  11. I think that there are pros and cons to both sides.
    for example, i think that being able to relax with a book is great for your mind and body.
    Books are how we have passed on information for billions of years, keeping them around is a beautiful way of showing our respect for such an interesting method of information/entertainment.
    You don’t need internet for a book, and a book won’t run out of battery.
    But there are some good aspects about e-books too.
    If we one day relied on ebooks, we would be saving a lot of trees from the production of books.
    There would be more space for other businesses or whatever we may need if there were no longer any libraries.
    we would have all the access we need to any book we want in just a click of a button.
    we would easily be able to read books in any language.
    Although being able to read any book whenever you like would be great, staring at a screen for hours would not.
    I think that it could go either way, but i personally prefer books.

  12. I think both options have a pro and a con, i mean paper books are awesome cuz you can snuggle up and read a book, but now a days everyones on their phones, i do ebooks from time to time, its not that bad, i mean all were doing with books is killing trees and using books as our own personal use, that tree did have a life. anyhow, todays age is all about technology, i bet ebooks are gonna get more popular then replace books, its just the way this worlds going, just face the facts.

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