Libraries embracing technology as circulation numbers are on the rise

Nick Dimassis is well aware of the predictions circulating the Internet and various other news mediums that libraries will one day — possibly in the not so distant future — become obsolete.

Like many library leaders, however, the Carver County Library Director doesn’t buy into them. That’s because he knows that such predictions are based on the assumption that technology — namely the internet, e-books and other electronic resources — will one day make traditional books a thing of the past.

While that may be true, it’s not the books themselves, Dimassis said, that library patrons desire. Instead, it’s the information inside them that people covet, and as long as people continue to desire and seek that information, he says there’s no reason to believe libraries won’t continue to thrive.

“I often talk about the content versus the containers,” Dimassis said. “It’s what’s in between the covers that counts. Some people want it on paper with ink. Some would rather have it on a mobile device. The library is there to provide that content in whatever form the residents want.”

Watertown resident Heidi Elliott uses one of the Watertown Library’s four public access computers on Monday afternoon. A remodeling project this spring is expected to triple the number of public computers at that branch. Library officials say there is a need for libraries to stay up to date with technology in an increasingly digital world, and data shows that libraries have actually been thriving in recent years. (Staff photo by Matt Bunke)

Watertown resident Heidi Elliott uses one of the Watertown Library’s four public access computers on Monday afternoon. A remodeling project this spring is expected to triple the number of public computers at that branch. Library officials say there is a need for libraries to stay up to date with technology in an increasingly digital world, and data shows that libraries have actually been thriving in recent years. (Staff photo by Matt Bunke)

At a time when many believe libraries — and the printed word in general  — are dying, it would seem that the exact opposite is true. Not only are libraries not dying, they seem to be thriving like never before.

Four years ago, the Carver County Library system hit 1 million in circulation for the first time ever, and that milestone has also been reached every year since. In 2006, total circulation in Carver County was 725,821. By 2011, the last full year for which data was available, that number had jumped to more than 1.1 million, an increase of nearly 54 percent.

To continue reading this story, please pick up a copy of this week’s Carver County News.

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