NYT: “Libraries Must Change”


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The New York Times has an opinion piece titled “Libraries Must Change” by Anthony W. Marx, the president of the New York Public Library advocating that during the coronavirus pandemic public libraries need to stay true to their mission and offer more digital services.

Mr. Marx states the mission and challenge to public libraries as “providing free access to the tools and knowledge they need to open doors of opportunity and be productive members of society. To remain true to their mission, all libraries must undergo radical change. To serve the public in the face of unprecedented challenges, libraries will need to transition their services to the virtual space and explore new avenues to serve the public and bring people together, even while we are apart.”

The Impact of their closing the NY Public Library system buildings:

  • “864 percent increase in digital library card sign-ups in our e-reader app SimplyE since our temporary closing began

  • Approximate 200 percent increase in new users across all e-reading platforms

  • 236 percent increase in views of our educational resources”

Like other industries, the shutdown is accelerating the transition which was already underway.

The Commons Foundation is dedicated to funding, building and sustaining the new Larkspur Library. Since the closure we have worked with Library staff and other groups to expand resources for online classes and programs.

We have always advocated a phased approach to the new library. That now means an expanded digital library to serve the public during the pandemic.

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