rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

From page to screen

Over the years of my degree, I saw the number of computers in the library increase substantially, while books were shipped away. Less popular and obscure books were moved to boxes; computers took up the space they left. It’s an unfortunate circumstance, all too familiar across the country.

As people start obtaining literature and reading in different ways, libraries have to change. These changes are not only necessary, but they are making much of the knowledge in books more accessible to everyone.

Some purists might say a screen could never take the place of the paper, bound in leather, smelling of wisdom.

But many books, especially older ones, are available online for free to read, and there are no late fees to worry about. Also, wireless and digital reading devices are becoming more popular, like the Amazon Kindle, which allows people to read from a screen and buy and download books more cheaply than in paper form. With these kinds of advances, people will be more willing to forfeit the feeling of a book in hand to keep nickels and dimes in hand instead.

In order to keep up, libraries will again need to shift and change with the times.

Look at what some libraries in the United States are doing with online book clubs, for example. They’re luring readers into their shelves, one five-minute snippet at a time, with services like DearReader.com. With this particular online book club service, cardholders sign up to have an e-mail sent everyday Monday through Friday with a small reading from a book. Readers are sent up to three chapters over the course of a week, after which point they, theoretically, want to take the book out of their own library to finish it.

This is the kind of thing that libraries need to do – reach out to their readers in technologically innovative ways. These institutions need to entice people through their doors in order to remain as important as they are, and continue to be a good option for not only inexpensive literature, but even the books that might be obscure or unpopular.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.