Office Hours: Libraries in Balance


This column explores balancing technology with services and people.

Services to the vulnerable and technology offerings are not polar opposites. Librarians have to stop seeing it that way. These are all points on a continuum, and without technological skills, some folks will fall right back into the world out of which they’re desperately trying to pull themselves. Technology is not some future we have the option of ignoring—it is the present. It’s the world in which we live. There will always be people who need to be directed to housing resources, but those are not the majority of our users. Pew’s 2015 “Libraries at the Crossroads” study found that a majority of individuals believe that library services should include learning opportunities related to computers, smartphones, 3-D printers, and apps as well as the more general “help people upgrade their skills.”