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Library’s Effect on Society

Dr. Albert Cadiz Bulawat

· Volume I Issue IV

Due to continuous technological progress, the importance of the library has come to question. One factor would be, according to some people, it's a thing of the past and might not be that suitable in modern society. Technology is one of the most apparent reasons why libraries' importance and effects on society are often neglected.

The library and society are interdependent. It communicates with society through its pivotal role of molding and shaping the mind of the people who, in return, are becoming productive members of society. It promotes the progress of knowledge, enabling people to think critically and intelligently and contribute to the survival of civilization. The dictionary defines a library as the building which contains a collection of books. But the library as an acknowledged social institution deserves deeper meaning, as Carl T. Rowan described it as the "Temple of Learning." He emphasized the very significance of the library in society as the storehouse of knowledge and learning's which liberate more people than all wars in history. Through those books which serve as its instrument for the dissemination of fundamental knowledge, people become equal. Libraries are said to be the center of society. It is the only 'social institution" where equality can be vividly seen. The haves and the have nots become equal in terms of acquiring knowledge, for libraries provide books for those who love to read but cannot afford to buy books.

Libraries, as an information center of all societies, serve and educate every member of society by making itself a "common man's university," a training school of and for those who can't afford to have formal education and a room for self-improvement. Libraries, as they promote the progress of knowledge and learning, enable people to acquire authentic information that can be used in fostering urbanization and civilization of society that people thought only technologies could do. People were able to learn lessons of the past through books that libraries are trying to preserve because it is one of its roles – to preserve history and serve as the repository of the nation's heritage. Libraries also promote change in society. Through reading those books that they contain, people tend to have changes in their behavior, if they fully understood what they have read. As a result, they become productive catalysts of change. Despite the facts that libraries are often neglected and set aside because of the emerging innovative technologies, they remain a keeper of the intellectual output of society; roots and fruits of great civilizations; and a product of society for its cultural development enabling all communities to survive and respond to any situation.

Libraries serve as an open door for the people to take a glance at the past, learn lessons from histories, and apply them in their lives. They also serve as a door towards another world that people would visit and reflect on whatever learning they would gain from it. Libraries, of course, is a door of the future, wherein people can visualize what they want their societies would be after reflecting on whatever they have read.

To quote these lines from Lady Bird Johnson, "Perhaps there's no place in any community that is totally democratic. The only entrance requirement is interest."

Amidst this technological progress and innovations, the only question that everyone, as part of these modern societies, should answer is, is it possible for our brains' best friend (libraries) to continue to play its significant role in the society?