SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Public libraries in Onondaga County are still thriving, say librarians, despite the emergence of new digital technologies. The county system reported that 2.8 million people visited its many branches in 2017.
“People definitely still come to use this library, although over the few years that I’ve been here, there’s been a bit of a change in what people do,” said Joanne Teska, manager of the Soule branch on the city’s east side.
Librarians there saw an uptick in library patrons using electronic resources, such as computers, Wi-Fi and e-books, Teska said.
“Taking out print books is definitely still a very relevant portion of what we do here,” she added.
The Pew Center reported that two-thirds of patrons nationwide borrow print books and about half of patrons go to read, study and engage with different types of media.
“While our computers used to be very, very full, many people are coming in with their own devices and they will connect with our Wi-Fi instead of using our PCs,” Teska said.
There’s also an economic aspect as to why people use public libraries. Jill Hurst-Wahl, a library science professor at Syracuse University, said many people may be fiscally conservative or they just don’t have access to the internet.
“A lot of people go to the library online,” Hurst-Wahl said. “They don’t actually have to go physically to the library.”
Libraries have a lot to offer, including programs, children’s room and knitting groups, Hurst-Wahl said. She does not think libraries will be going out of business any time soon.