In a world of Kindles, Nooks, Kobo, iPads and Apps, where does the traditional public library fit into the world of modern education? The last bastion of the book, a haven of knowledge neatly closed between paperback pages, can the library really still help us in education?
The answer is a resounding YES. Even during these times of economic cut backs, the majority of public libraries have changed and adapted along with the world in which we live. Gone are the rules of silence and the terrifying aged librarians peering at you over the top of his or her half moon glasses. Instead we have a readily available, largely free, essential resource, in almost every town and city in the country.
Today’s libraries have more to offer the GCSE and A Level student than ever before. They
provide computer facilities, offer free or low cost courses for the technologically less confident, allow access to the Internet, word processing, printing, and scanning and (in the majority of the larger libraries), even have the facility to borrow Kindle downloads.
Alongside these hi-tech facilities available the public library has its most valuable resource. Books.
The Internet is a wonderful thing, but it is all too easy for our children to start their homework by instantly logging into Wikipedia, and gleaning all their answers from that one resource. Much of the information on that most popular of online encyclopaedias is correct, but sadly a great deal of it is also incorrect or out of date. Of course, the responsible student shouldn’t only use one source of information for their studies, but with the majority using the first few hits that a Google or Bing search brings up, there is kudos for the pupil who uses their incentive, heads to the library, and adds to their research by using the books provided there to add weight to their work.
If you are unsure of the location or resources of your local library, than you can find a basic county by county list for the UK here- List of UK libraries