Learning and education
The principal role of a library is to enable people to access large stores of books and other educational resources. However, the role of the library has evolved considerably and now involves several other responsibilities. Many libraries also offer courses which enable people to learn new skills or develop their existing skills; often these include basic computer and literacy courses. The library also offers people who struggle to excel within the constraints of the formal education system a chance to develop their skills and learn new things. Library services can encourage children to develop their literacy skills and enable them to enjoy a wide range of resources and interactive experiences; many libraries have events geared towards children, which actively encourages them to read; this will undoubtedly benefit them in the future.
Nurturing community spirit
The library is also an important contributor to community life and can be responsible for increased social cohesion and lifelong learning initiatives. Libraries are now geared towards developing community life and encouraging education and learning; many now offer interactive group discussions, children’s story time and events to bring communities together. Social cohesion reduces the risk of serious social issues including racial tension, anti-social behaviour and crime.
Most libraries now offer computer facilities which can enable people without computers at home to gain access to the vast resources offered by the internet; these may include journals, research findings or e-books, for example.
The British Library
The British library is one of the biggest libraries in the world and a major landmark in London. The library is open to all and houses a vast array of resources which includes books, DVDs, journals, newspapers, magazines, tapes and videos. The British library is an essential resource for scholars and academics as well being instrumental to the learning journey of millions of other people.