Is ICT killing libraries?
“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.”
― Neil Gaiman
In the era of ‘E’, readers demand has become significant as they ask for an article or topic in place of a book or journal and at the same time they prefer to search online databases to fulfill their needs. Different search techniques are undertaken by library users to search and locate relevant information. (Kaur and Sharda, Role of technological innovations in improving library services; 2010). Though the information searching approach has been effected by ICT in a positive manner, traditional use of library still continue to exist as users seek librarian help in using ICT in libraries.
Rather than the traditional belief of isolation through ICT, it has expanded the walls of the libraries and expanding library services beyond their traditional scope.
According to Carol; the modern university library is all about making connections—connections between different groups of library users, connections between library users and library staff, connections between library users and resources. [Carol 2003]
At the global level Internet and at the national and local level several library networks came in vogue and databases created for information sharing. In recent years availability of information resources in digital or electronic medium has further facilitated exchange of information resources among libraries, thus creating favorable condition for increased resource sharing. Emergence of library consortia is a very promising development in this direction. (Chaterjee, 2002).
No single library can satisfy the needs of its users; however big or resourceful it may be. All the libraries have to seek the cooperation of other libraries to augment the resources through synergy in order to meet the needs of their users. (R. Islam & Mohd, 2012). ICT does the coordinating part for library cooperation thus facilitating library usage.
According to Freeman et al., 2005, library, which is still a combination of the past (print col¬lections) and the present (new information technologies), must be viewed with a new perspective. Rather than threatening the traditional concept of the library, the integration of new information technology has actually become the catalyst that transforms the library into a more vital and critical intellectual center of life at colleges and universities today.
The function of a library as a center for resources and ideas is to provide information to its users. The library as a gateway to knowledge remains as true for the building that welcomes in readers to peruse books and journals as for the one that guides its users to electronic resources throughout the world.(Latimer, 2011)
The introduction of ICTs has significantly increased the demand for faster, easier ways to answer information needs, and produced new means for people to utilize technology to create original and innovative content.(Gould & Gomez, 2009)
ICT in modern library is beyond question, but the level of ICT integration is yet to be determined. Are we ready for a bookless library yet?