After checking out the results of my survey, and thank you to all who voted, I wasn’t surprised to see the search engines in the lead. How can a library compete with convenient, almost instant access to more information than anyone can catalog? So, I’ve put some thought into it and decided that, if this were a debate, I’d want to be on the library side. Libraries have been around for a long time, and for good reason, they are very useful and have many benefits! So, I’m siding for the library, anyone want to debate against me?

My Top 10 Reason’s to visit a Library:

  1. Reference experts for assistance whenever you need it
  2. Instant information
  3. Print books and resources
  4. Authoritative sources
  5. No “spam”
  6. Community programs and classes
  7. Local sections
  8. Computer access
  9. Less distractions
  10. All full text

1- Reference librarians are wonderful. Though not every library employee is qualified to search for and answer questions (a common misconception of patrons), those who are do a wonderful job sorting through the rubble to find nuggets of information. Reference librarians educate those who are technologically challenged, recommend books for those who are unsure, and answer questions for those who don’t even know what the question is.

2- Information is fast in a libraryI. If you email or ask someone, you may have to wait for their reply. There is nothing like taking it into your own hands and searching out an answer. Chances are, if you aren’t searching for anything too obscure, you will be able to find it at the library.

3- Print books are the backbone of many libraries. That is slowly changing, but you’ll never take print books away from me. Its difficult to read a bedtime story in front of a computer (however, disney is making an attempt to change that- see lisnews.org for the full story). Screen glare and remaining in one place alienate other would-be online readers.

4. Libraries contain authoritative sources. With search engines, you have to sift through many hits that are written by undereducated people. If you searched for “dog training” you might get everything from “How to train your dog- Victoria Stillwell” to “I trained my dog to sit- Bubba Hick”. It takes extra time to weed through articles that are not authoritative.

5. No “spam”– with a search engine, a simple query may return several thousand hits.

6- Community programs and classes, for example, story time, english classes or computer classes are available. Check out your local libraries webpages for specific offerings. Educating the community and keeping kids occupied with good pursuits.

7- Local sections contain specialized information about the geographic area near a library. This is useful and saves some searching because the sources are already pulled out into a special area for you.

8- Computer access is available for those who do not have home computers or access at work. Computers are very necessary in our society, with most job applications being online only, access at a library might be the only way for some people to use the internet.

9- There are less distractions at a library. No food to cook or rooms to clean, no barking dogs or T.V. to turn on.

10- Everything at a library is full text. Sometimes, you can access newspapers and magazines on the internet, but not always in full text. Libraries subscribe to many print newspapers and magazines that can be read in full text at a library (ex. The Washington Post, Bride, Sports Illustrated, Ebony etc).

So, anyone for the debate? Why do you think that search engines are better?