The public library system in the
United States is one of the
greatest institutions in the history of humanity. This public service that is established to
preserve public records and information, and ensure that information is
accessible to the general public has no comparison anywhere else in the world. As society continues to develop into the
information age, the services that the public library system provides will increase
"Liquidating the library branches ..., is like selling the gold mine to buy picks and shovels"
In regards to information technology, books are becoming outmoded. As more information is digitized and circulates more freely through our lives, using books for information storage and dissemination is becoming obsolete. But libraries are not intended to preserve books, they are intended to preserve information. Digital information is extremely volatile and easily lost, and as our reliance upon digital information increases, our reliance upon the library system to preserve and archive this information will become more important.
With the construction of the new
Roosevelt Island Tech Center, the library will become
increasingly important. Liquidating the library branches and renovating the so that it
becomes more of a museum of the library sciences rather than a functioning
research library, is like selling the gold mine to buy picks and shovels. Schwartzman
Instead of liquidating historic library buildings and converting the Schwartzman building into a museum, the city should take close consideration of how the library system may evolve to better serve the population as we continue developing into the information age.
Although there are countless ways through which people interact and communicate, the literary language remains an invaluable means of exchanging information and is second in complexity and significance only to the genetic code. The library system must continue to evolve to ensure that the integrity of literary information and communication is preserved. From the maintenance of this integrity, we may sustain a sound basis from which we may continue to elaborate our interactions.
In addition to living in the information age, we also live in the misinformation age. We need an impartial social service that can allow the access of information that is not directed by forces of the economic market. This would provide more unbiased systems to access information for cross referencing and verifying the legitimacy and accuracy of the information. The public library system must continue to provide this service.
With the availability of the abundant information in the library system, universities and the
Roosevelt Island Tech Center can begin developing
systems for restructuring and organizing the information to improve access
through ingenious new means of architecture and indexing. This would increase the public’s ability to
apply information effectively to the unforeseeable developments of the
"The best informed public is the most stable, productive and ingenious public."
The numerous library facilities in the city could also be used as education centers to instruct the public of the new means of accessing and applying the information we continue to amass. The best informed public is the most stable, productive and ingenuous public. As new techniques in information technology are developed, the public can be instructed in the use of this technology to benefit their lives and society as a whole.
As the information we generate increases exponentially, we must rely upon the library system for the preservation and archival of this information. Although it is easy to dismiss the electronic chatter that is incessantly buzzing through our lives, this buzzing is the development of new means of interaction within our species that we are only beginning to understand. Never before has the entire population of humanity had instant access of communication with one another, and this means of communication is integrating our collective intelligence in ways that is unprecedented. These developments have profound ramifications for humanity and life on Earth. As this new evolution of our species occurs, the information of this nascence period must be preserved for study, and this information should be directly accessible to the general public.
Also, the archives of the New York Public Library are already the most accessible of any literary archives in the world. The new technology that is developing could make these archives even more accessible. As these archives are recorded on digital formats, they could be made accessible to anyone in the world. This could allow the population of the world to converge upon the New York Public Library as their resource and point of referral for information on the human species and the universe.
Not only would this convergence allow the New York Public Library to gain and engage the attention of the world’s population, it could establish the library system as an invaluable hub of information through which people may continue to develop their understanding of one other and us all. Then, as we continue to develop our understanding of one another, we may decrease the number of conflicts from disagreement that occur.
Although printed books are becoming a novelty, literary language and the information preserved and transferred through it is not. Our library system must not be abandoned, but instead supported so that it may continue to evolve to serve our increasing need for information.
Garrett Buhl Robinson is a poet and novelist. He lives in