The Student News Site of Guilford High School

The Voyager

The Student News Site of Guilford High School

The Voyager

The Student News Site of Guilford High School

The Voyager

Rockford libraries forced to adapt to changing times

Shan Non
Bryson Halley, sophomore, inspecting a book

When was the last time you went to a library? It’s probably been a while. All around our community, local libraries have been shutting down, but why? Over the past five years, more than four libraries have shut down in Rockford. The reasoning behind this decline is more than you might expect.

   “I think it’s because everybody has a computer in their pocket, everyone has cell phones,” said Ms. Brooke Imbach, Guilford’s librarian. 

   Ms. Imbach is highlighting the ease of accessing information through technology as a factor affecting library usage.

  Some younger people also have never been to a library before.

  “Um, I don’t go, so I have never gone to a library before,” said Mu Rah, sophomore.

   There’s an increasing number of digital books, aka e-books. The convenience of these books is more appealing to this generation than hardcover or paperback books. Media has changed how we take in information.

   “I think that the way we consume media is changing,” said Ms. Imbach, “If you look at TikTok, our attention spans get shorter and shorter for those 1-minute videos.”

   The shorter attention spans of this generation affect the use of libraries. The effect of this forces libraries to reinvent themselves. For example, Rockford Public Libraries have created a mobile library which makes libraries more accessible to readers. A van drives around Rockford and makes stops at community centers to let people check out books. 

   Previously, books were the only thing that could be checked out in libraries, but now community members can check out more than just books.

   “I mean, you can check out video games, you can check out a cornhole set,” said Ms. Imbach. “You can check out all these different things that even when I was a kid, libraries were still just books.  The Rockford Public Library is doing so much to transform who they are.”

   For librarians like Ms. Imbach, however, books are still a library’s main resource.   

   “I do think that libraries are trying to reinvent themselves and stay current with the changing world,” said Ms. Imbach. “I think it’s really important to still read paper books.”

   Besides libraries trying to reinvent their space, they are also trying to reinvent their environment. When people think about libraries, the first thing that comes to mind is probably librarians maintaining silence and order.

   Sophomore Asia Primes believes that most of the people going to libraries are there to work, not to actually check out books.

   Most people use libraries as a meeting area, a place to study, and a place to get information. Some might feel that this silence is unsettling. Libraries are trying to create a more lively environment for the community. 

   “I go there just for something to do, I used to hang out with friends,” said Tyrese Eddy, sophomore.

   Libraries are on the decline, whether it’s people or locations. Technology has been crucial to this decline. 

  “It’s really easy if you want to know the answer to something, you can find it in just a couple of seconds,” said Ms. Imbach.

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About the Contributors
Shan Non
Shan Non, Reporter
Bryson Halley
Bryson Halley, Opinions Editor

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