Libraries Adapt to Changing Times

Local branches are adding extra features to fulfill growing demands

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Libraries are the staple of many communities and, since the recession, patrons are looking for more from their local branches. Now branches are adding e-books, Kindles and small conference rooms to keep up with the times.

“Today’s libraries are reinventing themselves as vibrant town squares, showcasing the latest best sellers, lending Kindles loaded with e-books, and offering grass-roots technology training centers. Faced with the need to compete for shrinking municipal finances, libraries are determined to prove they can respond as quickly to the needs of the taxpayers as the police and fire department can,” reports the New York Times.

Many libraries are now calling patrons and are modeling their spaces after bookstores. Shelf space is limited and bestsellers are put in the forefront, and e-books are available for loans.

“I think public libraries used to seem intimidating to many people, but today, they are becoming much more user-friendly, and are no longer these big, impersonal mausoleums,” said Jeannette Woodward, a former librarian and author of Creating the Customer-Driven Library: Building on the Bookstore Model, to The Times.

Weigh in: How has your local library reinvented themselves to keep up with the times? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.