What happens if library use is falling sharply?May 11, 2016

There's no other way but to go up. Let's take a look at "Cinema Paradiso", an Italian film that won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 62nd Academy Awards. It was about a famous film director, and how he discovered cinema at an early age. In his hometown in Sicily, a movie theater was the place where the inhabitants would find themselves in one place. It was an oasis. But urbanisation and technology gradually changed the place. The theater outlived its usefulness. It was a nostalgic story that had a bittersweet ending. Such an outcome won't apply to a library, but it would be hard to predict the future.

BBC asked readers to name the best libraries they visited. Four would be found in the British Isles. But a government-sponsored research revealed a thirty percent drop on the number of British adults visiting the library in the last decade. It wasn't hard to figure out the reason. Everything you would need to know could be found in the Internet. Right? Not exactly. Some looked at a library as an indoor park, where they could be stimulated. Not by the lovely sights, but by ideas. Technology would pose a serious challenge, as educators must come up with a list of reasons to encourage young adults to drop by the library. After all, this age bracket comprised the largest percentage of the populace (who don't find any usefulness in such a place). And it won't be a stretch of an imagination to see a similar trend in other countries.

Unless there's a need to do serious research, let's look at the possible reasons to visit the library. A different venue can encourage you to read more. You might find titles that you miss in the Internet. (Put it in another way, there are no Cliff Notes for these books.) You'll meet other bibliophiles, and nothing would be more delightful than one (or two) from your age group. The younger, the merrier. Right? No doubt about it.

Let's take a look at some of the most beautiful libraries in Down Under:

Surry Hills library and community centre. If you're a Sydneysider, then it will be a shame not to include this place in the must-see list. There's something about its architectural design that would make anyone look twice. (And it has nothing to do with the glasses.) And it won't be for photography enthusiasts.

Mortlock Chamber, State Library of South Australia. You thought this was Europe until you realised your mistake. And you would be delighted about it. This may be the top attraction in Adelaide.

State Library of Queensland. Don't stare too long at the geometric structure, which might haunt you in your dreams. And it would be far from a Salvador Dali masterpiece. (The Surrealist painter might nod his head in approval, though.) It's about getting one's attention, and this one won't disappoint you at all.

Craigieburn library. Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp thought of lines, and how it could make a difference in this structure in Hume City, Victoria. You need to look twice, if not thrice, to make sure it wouldn't be something else.

Murray Bridge library. Those who have been to this place would attest the kid-friendly environment. They can play, which is becoming a trend.

If you haven't visited your local library for ages, then it would be the right time to plan it. Now. You might be missing a lot.

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