For any institution to remain relevant, it must adapt to the times. A library is no exception. When we were growing up and going to our local library more than 40 years ago, every visit was an adventure in discovering old and sometimes brittle books that were crammed with knowledge for our young minds. The core of any library in those days was its books, such as the Encyclopedia Britannica and its many other reference books.
But today’s typical young library user probably does not even know what an Encyclopedia Britannica is or fathom why anyone would have use for it. Today’s user can get access to whatever he or she needs with a few clicks of a mouse on a computer.
However, libraries have stayed relevant. The reasons for this relevancy are the programs and equipment that can be found at the local library.
Kevin Sheehan was recently named the new director of the Revere Public Library. We welcome him to our city and look forward to his leading our library in the years ahead. His plans to expand the consortium agreements with other libraries and to promote the NOBLE consortium, including e-books, are forward-thnking. But above all, his willingness to find out what the users of the library really want is the key to its future success.
More than 100 years ago, Andrew Carnegie, the steel magnate from the Gilded Age, provided the funding to build our library and hundreds of others in small communities across America. The basis of Carnegie’s largesse was that a building that contained knowledge and was free to all was the best way to help educate every American.
Today, within the walls of a building that are more than a century old, his mission still lives and the library has adapted to a world that very few could have imagined at the start of the 20th Century.