The Future of Libraries

Is the rush to high technology misguided?


As more and more librariesre tool to get on the information super highway, library users and professional librarians alike have been rethinking the mission of libraries. Fans of technology and long-distance communication envision a day when printed books play only marginal roles, and the once cherished public reading room loses its allure. Library patrons of the future, they say, will depend heavily on Internet browsers and vast electronic databases. But bibliophiles and old-school library devotees decry the new technology as overrated and full of inconveniences. Library professionals, for the most part, foresee a hybrid future that combines the strengths of electronics with those of the traditional print media. What is undeniable is that today's librarians are at the center of the information debate.

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