TechCrunch – The American Library Association has released a new report that details the effects of the closure of the Howard County Library, the first in the state of Virginia.
The American Libraries Association (ALA) is the umbrella organization for all American libraries and is tasked with managing access to libraries and resources across the country.
The report, entitled “Closing Libraries: What You Need to Know” is based on data gathered from 2013 to 2016.
While it’s not a comprehensive report, it’s a start for libraries in their transition to an online, cloud-based future.ALA President and CEO Nancy D’Agostino shared a few key takeaways from the report, including that library and information technology (IT) infrastructure in the United States is falling behind, while digital media (DVRs, DVR-like media player, and streaming services) is outpacing print and electronic media.
D’Agopino said she’s concerned about the effect of libraries closing on access to information and libraries’ ability to function.
D’AGOPINO: We need libraries to be the go-to resource for the public in a digital age, but also be the place where the public can access information on topics of importance to them.
We need to make sure that they are not simply being told to go to a library and get something.
So I think it’s incumbent upon libraries to keep libraries open, and I think we need libraries that can make the case to patrons that they can access those resources.
In addition to libraries, the ALA is also focused on digital literacy and digital inclusion, with the goal of ensuring that people have access to the information they need and to the resources they need to participate in the digital economy.
The ALA says it is also a resource for libraries, and has been working with libraries to ensure that their digital offerings can help improve access to educational resources.
“We have seen that digital literacy has played a critical role in ensuring access to a range of information and digital skills,” D’Abostino said.
“Our libraries have been leading the way on this issue by leading by example.”
For libraries to remain relevant in an age of digitalization, D’Agostino says libraries need to maintain the same high quality of digital services as they did in the past.ALAC recently partnered with the Digital Access Council to develop a Digital Library Index that aims to measure digital literacy across the US, and D’ABOSTINO: Libraries must do a better job of identifying what the digital literacy is, and what the need is.DATABASE: ALAC Digital Library index (PDF)The ALAC report is available for download in its entirety here.