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What are the Benefits of an Online Library

What are the Benefits of an Online Library

The tradition of going to the library once a week and checking out a book is still alive and well. The art of researching the card catalog to find a specific source for a research paper is also still alive and well. However, technology has changed these practices a little for some, and a lot for others. Your small local library is no longer your only option for access to free books and resources. Online libraries are popping up and expanding at record rates.


Online libraries from every corner of the earth are just a click away. You can become a member of a library half way around the world and have instant access to books you would have never had the chance to see otherwise. You can browse the online book shelves of libraries a world away to learn and explore ideas and cultures worlds away from your own.

Everyone knows the library is the ultimate book resource, but online libraries also give you access to other resources the library has to offer. Newspapers and magazines that cover all of the latest news and events are available at the click of a mouse when you are a member of an online library.

Not only can you browse for a book to casually rummage through while online, but you can research ancient and rare text that you would never have had access to any other way. Online libraries have digitally preserved personal papers, notebooks, ancient maps, and diaries that changed history. By preserving them and digitalizing them, they are forever safe from being lost or damaged irreparably. Having them only stored in the physical world on remote dusty shelves leaves irreplaceable texts, photos, maps and one of a kind pieces of literature open to being lost forever. Having them available online for all to view and appreciate brings priceless text to life for everyone to enjoy.

For those in remote locations, online libraries may be the only way to enjoy the endless resources available on the world wide web. Many people simply can’t just drive to the local library every time there is something they would like to read or research. There are certain areas where libraries just are not well stocked or close by at all. Online, even those who live in the most remote parts of the country can simply use their internet access to bring books of the world to life. For others who are disabled or home bound, an online library may be the only way to access any library resources.

Traditional libraries are often victim to lack of funding. Without the financial resources to constantly update the library shelves, you run the risk of not being able to get your hands on the latest information. When you are researching something for an important paper, not having the latest information on the shelves can compromise the validity of the research. Online libraries can be updated instantly. There is no extra space to find for the latest scientific journals or newspapers. Online, the information is new and infinite.

It is also easier to research online rather than run from one end of a library to another. The digital world can filter through endless amounts of knowledge and help narrow down your options. The swiftness of cyber searches combined with endless space, make online libraries a rich resource that far outweighs the limited space and capabilities of your local small town libraries.

By using an online library, you avoid the common pitfalls that plague local libraries peppered around the country. Online, you will never hear the selection you wish to read is checked out. You also never have to wait for library to library transfers of resources that are at one branch but not another. You never have to worry about making a mad dash to the library to return overdue books or suffer the glare of a stern librarian when your books are late.

As technology changes and the way we can instantly access information, libraries are changing too. While curling up with a good book in a quiet corner may never cease to be a favorite pastime, how we do it may evolve.

Last modification: Tue 2 Nov 2010

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