Research Libraries: Are They Still Relevant?

Research Libraries Research Libraries: Are They Still Relevant?Libraries and, quite honestly, print books in general are suffering a bit of an identity crisis given the advent of electronic publications. However, it is crucial to note that traditional, public libraries and research-based libraries are two very different entities that serve unique purposes. As such, research libraries are just as relevant as ever, despite the growing popularity of electronically based reading materials.

Here are a few of the reasons why research libraries are still an integral part of today’s educational landscape.

  1. Libraries provide quiet environments in which researchers can concentrate. The atmosphere in the library is more conducive to focused study that that of any other building on a university campus. Research, particularly that which is highly complex, is best done in an area in which individuals can focus all of their attention on the task at hand.
  2. Libraries serve as a meeting place for research groups to conduct their activities. In most instances, libraries are considered very quiet places where no one talks above a whisper. But there are cases in which researchers need to communicate their ideas and access the environment and resources provided by the library setting. As such, it is imperative that they have a place to meet. Many libraries house rooms in which groups can close themselves off from the rest of the patrons, allowing them to communicate freely and still access the resources that the library has to offer.
  3. The publications housed in libraries are not always available in another setting. Many libraries, even those that are research-based, are in the process of creating a digital copy of each of their publications. But there are many publications that are, quite simply, only available in their physical, printed form. This is particularly true for diaries, journals, and other resources frequently used by researchers who are working in the humanities.
  4. Today’s libraries have a lot of partnerships in place, allowing them to request materials from other institutions. Additionally, they have trained librarians and other professionals who can assist researchers in locating and accessing the resources they need. This guidance is integral to the success of many initiatives.

Libraries are certainly organizations that have changed over time. However, they are not yet relegated to the category of obsolete. To the contraryβ€”they are extremely important components of the educational system. Supporting libraries, then, through financial and in-kind donations is a wonderful way to help researchers and other academics in their endeavors.

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