28 Jun 2019

WHY LIBRARIES SHOULD PROVIDE MORE PHYSICAL BOOKS

           



WHY  LIBRARIES SHOULD PROVIDE MORE PHYSICAL BOOKS




Prepared for
Dr. Halimah Hassan, Director

Perpustakaan Komuniti Cheras
Jalan Loke Yew
48200 Cheras Kuala Lumpur



By
Mr. Fauzi Muhammad
Librarian

Perpustakaan Komuniti Cheras


1.0       INTRODUCTION

With the proliferation of high-tech media, some people hold that the libraries would be rendered obsolete if they do not offer digital copies, software, videos or DVDs to their users while other assert it’s only a waste of limited resources and the libraries should offer books only.

High-tech media is, in many ways, indeed superior to the books in terms of entertainment, attraction, and functionality. For instance, e-books and e-journals function as a visual means to assist people to have a first-hand experience even though those people have not physically visited or seen the objects which are introduced in the books. Also, despite the audio-visual equipment would be prohibitive to install, the capital cost would be lowered by appealing to a sizable number of users.

However, to turn the library into a digital library rather than something to be encouraged. Moreover, if the library has limited resources in terms of finance and human resources. Also it should be noted that digital materials such as e-books and e-journals also require its IT literate and understand how to use and the risk of use.

This report was written to provide a true picture of the importance of the library to retain their traditional concept of maintaining physical books versus digital. The report was written to provide knowledge about the problems that may be encountered if the library chooses digital material as the main ingredient of their premises. In addition, the costs involved will be shown also in the report to strengthen the proposal to retain the traditional concept of a library.

At the end pages of this report will also include recommendations for appropriate improvements proposed to the library to maintain their concept of the use of physical versus digital.

2.0       WHY PHYSICAL BOOKS BETTER THAN DIGITAL?

Many predict that the digital age will wipe public bookshelves clean, and permanently end the centuries-old era of libraries. Nevertheless, this fact can be said to be unfounded. Many reasons why physical book is still the choice of readers in the library.

Of course digital libraries are more convenient and cost-efficient – with the majority of world’s population connected to the Internet it is theoretically possible to create a single repository of all the books the humanity has ever generated so that anybody can access any of them at any time.

However, so far this image remains a bit utopian. The library system, which allows readers take a book for a period of time, doesn’t work well with digital texts. Digital book is not the same as a physical book – it cannot copy the latter without great expense of time and money, while copying the former takes less than a second. There are no limitations as to how many people can use a digital copy of the book. This means that traditional model, in which a writer writes, a publisher publishes and a reader buys and reads doesn’t apply well here. Hence all the problems with digital copyright, prosecution of those who share books and other digital items via the Internet and so on.

This is also supported by a number of reasons which are listed below;

            2.1       Not Everything is Available on the Internet
The amazing amount of useful information on the web has, for some, engendered the false assumption everything can be found online. It's simply not true.

Google Books recognizes this. That's why they take on the monolith task of digitizing millions of books from the world's largest libraries. But even if Google does successfully digitize the sum of human knowledge, it is unlikely that the sum of contemporary authors and publishers will not allow their works to be freely accessible over the internet. It is already prohibited by law to make copyrighted books fully accessible through Google Book search.

2.2       Digital Libraries are not the Internet
A fundamental understanding of what the internet is and isn't can help clearly define the role of a library, and why libraries are still extremely important. Online library collections, however, are different. They typically include materials that have been published via rigorous editorial processes and are riddled with quantitative anaysis, instead of opinion.Types of materials include books, journals, documents, newspapers, magazines and reports which are digitized, stored and indexed through a limited-access database.

While one might use the internet or a search engine to find these databases, deeper access to them requires registration. You are still online, but you are no longer on the internet. You are in a library.

2.3       The Internet isn't Free
Numerous academic research papers, journals, and other important materials are virtually inaccessible to someone seeking to pull them off the web for free. Rather, access is restricted to expensive subscription accounts, which are typically paid for by college libraries. Visiting a college library in person or logging in to the library through your school account, is therefore the only way to affordably access necessary archived resources.

2.4       The Internet Compliments Libraries, but Doesn't Replace Them
The internet is clearly a great resource to finding information, but it's not a replacement for a library. There are clear advantages of libraries over the internet for research, however the benefits of the internet, includes "sampling public opinion", gathering "quick facts" and  pooling a wide range of ideas. Overall, the point is this: libraries are completely different than the web. In this light, to talk about one replacing the other begins to seem absurd.

2.5       Libraries Aren't Just Books
Technology is integrating itself into the library system, not bulldozing it. Pushing this trend to its logical extreme (although it's likely not to happen), we could eventually see libraries' entire stacks relegated to databases, and have books only accessible digitally. So where does that leave librarians? Are they being overtaken by technology, the timeless enemy of labor?

Technology is integrating itself into the library system, not bulldozing it. Pushing this trend to its logical extreme (although it's likely not go this far), we could eventually see libraries' entire stacks relegated to databases, and only be able to access books digitally.          

2.6       Mobile Devices are not the End of Books or Libraries
Predictions of the "end of the book" are a predictable response to digitization and other technologies, and the crystal ball of some in the pro-paper crowd seems to also reveal a concomitant crumbling of civilization. One of the latest dark threats to paper is e-books downloadable to mobile devices.

But e-books are not an all-consuming transition for readers. Radio lives on despite TV, film is still in high demand despite video, people still talk on the telephone despite email. People who like paper books will continue to read paper books even if mobile downloads prompt the majority of publishers to release e-books instead of paper. After all, an immense backlog of printed books will still be accessible to readers. The presence of the digital library will continue to be extremely important role for college students in their research, whether it's paper or electronically based.
           
            2.7       Libraries can Preserve the Book Experience
Consuming 900 pages on the intellectual history of Russia is an experience unique to the book. In general, the book provides a focused, yet comprehensive study that summarizes years of research by an author or team of authors who have devoted their academic to a particular subject area.

But, even when the internet does provide actual content, the information is often snack-sized or the overall experience cursory a sort of quick-reference browsing. Knowledge can be found, but the experience of delving into a book for hundreds of pages just doesn't happen online. The preservation of stacks, therefore, will help preserve access to this approach to learning and the more traditional form of scholarship can continue alongside the new.

Society is not ready to abandon the library, and it probably won't ever be. Libraries can adapt to social and technological changes, but they can't be replaced. While libraries are distinct from the internet, librarians are the most suited professionals to guide scholars and citizens toward a better understanding of how to find valuable information online. Indeed, a lot of information is online. But a lot is still on paper. Instead of regarding libraries as obsolete, state and federal governments should increase funding for improved staffing and technology. Rather than lope blindly through the digital age, guided only by the corporate interests of web economics, society should foster a culture of guides and guideposts. Today, more than ever, libraries and librarians are extremely important for the preservation and improvement of our culture.



4.0       CONCLUSIONS
Based on the above report is the responsibility of me as a librarian to justify the relevance of the proposed digitalized library.

The role of the library as well as educate is also responsible for providing a real reading experience. The books in digital format does not give a true reading experience. And this leads to the need to switch to digital format is not a good idea.

Moreover, the book in digital format has many disadvantages versus advantages. This can be seen with the costs involved in the provision of digital content is high and there are other needs that also require financial factors to play a role.

However, in improving libraries in stocking more physical books, there are few recommendations below that can be follow as the guidelines;

Collections
Improving the Library’s collection and improving access to this collection are high priorities. This requires funding for staffing associated with weeding, cataloging, and processing and additional funds for materials and shelving where needed. Additional space will be required to increase the collection and display materials in bookstore style to promote browsing and circulation. In addition, more efficient deliveries (including weekend deliveries) among branches, based on use patterns, will improve accessibility of materials both from home and each branch and put them into the hands of customers faster. Innovations in collections management and technology will be leveraged whenever feasible to improve access for every branch.

Programs and Services
Library programs and services are enhanced across the library system towards the goal of building community and supporting literacy and lifelong learning. Special emphasis is given to programming focused on early childhood learning, the educational growth of youth, and services that meet the needs of Baby Boomers. There is greater emphasis on programmatic partnerships with child-care facilities, senior centers, and Palo Alto Unified School District to meet defined needs in the schools, in branch libraries, or in other community locations.

Hours of Service
All branches provide hours that are convenient to customers’ busy lives, including more evening and weekend hours. Hours are standardized across the system where possible to make it easier for people to remember opening and closing times. Additional staff time will be required for current hours and to augment library hours of operation. Hours of service could be phased in, in order to reduce the number of new staff positions.

Technology
Technology plays a key role in the delivery of library service and information, including providing the means to provide service to remote users of the Library. While it is hard to predict how fast things will change related to online access and digitized materials the Library should take advantage of innovations in technology wherever possible to increase accessibility and efficiency, and to connect the community to the Library. A core focus should be continuing to build the website as a virtual branch, offering online reference materials, online registration for library cards and e-commerce, podcast-story times and other downloadable data, RSS feeds, online workshops and training, reference assistance by Instant Messaging (IM), and a library blog.

It is recommended that the Library undertake a technology planning process to consider technology innovations that accommodate the future and puts processes in place to insure that the Library continues to adapt to new technologies as they become available.

Staffing
Staffing is the most essential component of the public library. Staff develops and presents the programs and services, evaluates them in light of changing needs, and assists the public in getting the most out of library resources. Existing staff will be reorganized, cross-trained, and redeployed to better meet the changing needs of library customers, such as proactive customer service, new reference models, technical processing, web-based services, and volunteer management. To insure libraries, stay current, staff will participate in development and training including conferences, workshops, safety training, and updates on essential policies.
However, we all probably understand that traditional libraries slowly but steadily become the things of the past. Even now a library is not what it was a couple of decades ago, let alone fifty years or more. Any big library contains video and audio materials, access to the Internet and digital texts, utilizes electronic cataloguing systems and so on. It is only a matter of time before humanity thinks of an effective way to use digital libraries that would sit well with both readers and writers. Physical book will sooner or later become a rarity, for it is inconvenient to use, store and carry about.

It is highly possible that digital libraries will replace traditional ones in time. But at the moment this reports were written the idea is still premature thus library should invest more on physical books rather than the digital format.


REFERENCES

Chowdhury, G., & Chowdhury, S. (2002). Introduction to digital libraries. Facet publishing.

Christiansen, L., Stombler, M., & Thaxton, L. (2004). A report on librarian-faculty relations from a sociological perspective. The journal of academic librarianship, 30(2), 116-121.

Ji-lin, S. U. N. (2002). The Importance of Human Resource Management in Library Reform [J]. Library Tribune, 5, 039.

King, S. B., & MacDonald, K. (2004). Metropolis redux: the unique importance of library skills in informatics. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 92(2), 209.

Marshall, C. C. (1997, July). Annotation: from paper books to the digital library. In Proceedings of the second ACM international conference on Digital libraries (pp. 131-140). ACM.

Saracevic, T. (2000). Digital library evaluation: Toward evolution of concepts. Library trends, 49(2), 350-369.











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