As a daughter of a librarian, I see the tremendous challenges libraries, not only in Maine but also across the country, face in today’s technology-based society.
It was fun being raised in a library environment. The colorful pop-up books, computers, mazes of shelves and children programs made a successful library for everyone. Lately, however, paper books are being replaced by books you can read electronically, and it seems as if the majority of customers come to use computers.
When I moved to Augusta, one of the first things I checked on was the library. Lithgow was only a five-minute walk from my house. My first impression was how beautiful this small antiquated building was. Yet, after many visits to catch up on homework, I began to notice the library was in dire need of an expansion of some sorts. There were books on carts, without proper homes. And days when I did not have a computer, there was a waiting list to get on a computer for a limited amount of time.
Technology is the driving force of society now. All assignments in school are computer-based, so kids without Internet access at home rely on those at the library. Books are being swallowed up by technology, too. For libraries to stay afloat, they need to change and add user-friendly things such as e-readers to rent.
One of the biggest challenges with literacy is teens, most of whom don’t seem to be reading anything anymore.
Teens in Augusta have no activities to engage in and end up causing trouble. A space to do homework and pick up reading with activities would be a great improvement, not only for the library, but also for the community.
Dale Varnum Augusta