The role of libraries | Sunday Observer

The role of libraries

23 January, 2022

The 21st century is truly a technology based era. Science and technology has laid the foundation for the betterment of human life. Technology has become an essential component in every sector such as social, economic, health, administrative, educational sectors.

Because people are constantly using libraries to meet their need for information, the technology is bound up with libraries as well. Today, with the advancement of technology, the library field is adding many new features to libraries. It aims to provide up-to-date and quick access to information as well as a friendly service.

Libraries in developed countries today use cost-effective but efficient and advanced technologies. Here it is important to study some of the new technologies mainly used by libraries.

Digital narrating

Libraries have consistently had a relationship with the composed word regardless of the forms such as paper, microfilm, CDROM or website page. Today, libraries are working with journalists and coders to make new intelligent stories where the peruser can reap the harvest.

Library portable applications

A majority of the individuals are investing more energy on versatile applications and spending less time on portable programs. A versatile application can extend the library benefits outside their physical outskirts and help the library users. Such applications offer capacities like a library index, an intuitive schedule with all the library’s occasions, encouraging their exercises.

Digital interface for printed books

Advanced interface is a helpful apparatus for utilizing e-Books. You can take an E-Book rather than a printed book. Finding a link is a venture that has been created by jujitsu which you can utilize computerized devices with a printed book. The mix of computerized and genuine world is an improvement. Finger link is a model created by a gadget that enables the print to utilize all advanced elements of a book.

e-Reader applications

Tablet is a portable electronic gadget which enables you to carry out many tasks. Perusing books is one of the pastimes for a large portion of the individuals. They can peruse their preferred books at any place with the assistance of an advanced mobile phone or tablet.

Tablets can utilize the web through Wi-Fi. Tablet applications are accessible for the MAC and PC PCs just as for Android, Blackberry, iPod, iphone and windows telephone gadgets. Many people love reading books. They can read any page on an electronic gadget with the assistance of a Smart-phone or tablet. There are at present accessible advanced digital books and periodicals.

Tablets can utilize the web over Wi-Fi; e-Reader. Applications are accessible for MAC and PC PCs just as for Android, Blackberry, iPod, telephone and Windows telephone gadgets. Libraries arrive with a more prominent and increasingly different cluster of individuals through tablet applications. They are one of the extraordinarily innovative conceivable outcomes. Numerous libraries can build up their own applications.

Cloud printing, replicating, and examining

Computerized time has been legitimately influencing home-printing. Individuals never again need to print pages in huge amounts. This is the place where libraries can prove to be useful for individuals who prefer not to keep a printer at home any more. Cloud printing has become commonplace in libraries because it gives users the ability to utilize their smartphones, tablets and laptops for the purpose of printing.

Mobile apps

Mobile technology is considered to be one of the fastest-growing technologies among the famous four (Cloud, Big data, Analytics and Mobile) across the globe. It may be a smart-phone, tablet, iPod, laptop or anything which can be connected with the internet and can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

Smart-phone applications or simply apps are omnipresent today as they get wider acceptance with the introduction of the Apple store in 2008.

An app is normally an application software that is intended to work on a mobile device (Techopedia, 2020). Today libraries have started to mobilize library services by launching a mobile library website or library mobile apps.

Applications in the library
Searching catalogue
SMS notification service
Database searching
Data circulation
Text reference service.


Blockchain is one of the hot topics now. It is a chain of blocks or a growing list of records which are linked by using cryptography. The main advantages of blockchain are cost saving, security and resilience, immutability and use pseudonym. Blockchain consists of six major components viz. node, transaction, block, chain, minor and consensus. A transaction is requested and a block of the same transaction is created. Each block consists of certain data, the hash of the block and the hash of the previous block.

The block is further sent across the chain to all the nodes for validation. After the validation process, each block gets a proof of the work done and the validated block is added to the chain.

Any attempt will be notified to each node in the chain which ensures the transparency in the transaction. The blockchain works in a decentralized way. There is no single device to stores the data. At the same time, data can be distributed over the network to the participants.

Applications in the library
To build a metadata system for libraries
To protect digital first sale right
To connect the network of libraries
To host digital peer to peer sharing
To share partnership across organizations.


Artificially intelligent robots have encompassed almost all the fields of life including libraries.

Robotics is a subset discipline of artificial intelligence which found applications in almost all areas like industries, hospitals, banks, academic institutions , military operations etc.

A robot is a machine or system that does something over and over again (“Robotics: An Interview with Dr. Arthur Harkins,” 1983). Robots can be used for a variety of operations within the library. Many of the libraries have piloted this technology such as NY Public Library, Temasek Polytechnic Library, UMKC Library, University of Chicago Library, Shanghai Library and so on.

Applications in Library
Filing, sorting and replacing the books on the shelf.
Inventory purpose.
Deliver materials like newspapers, magazines, brochures.
Welcome and direct guests & students to various locations.
Answering Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).


Drone technology is one of the 192 major upcoming technologies which finds tremendous applications in the days to come as traced by Futuristic Speaker (Frey, 2014).

A drone can be defined as an Unmanned Aircraft System (UASes) which is controlled remotely either by a human operator or by an on-board computer (Rouse, 2018). Many of the libraries in many countries like Dubai Library, Rose Memorial Library, NY Public Library and Florida Library have started to use drones as an effective tool for delivering books from library to patrons and vice versa.

Applications in Library
Books delivery

Big Data

Big data can be defined as a large and complex amount of data sets that traditional data processing application fails to capture, store, share, transfer and analysis.

The volume of data is very huge in size usually produced by machines which would be in structured or unstructured type(Sonawane & Sane, 2018).

Big data has a direct impact on libraries as the professionals use big data tools to analyse their large data. At the same time it has an indirect impact as the academics of the universities depend more upon the data for their study and research.

Applications in library
Data mining and text analytics for taking decisions.
Data standardization and modelling.
User behaviour study.
Developing library collection.

Tracking the use of library materials.

New technologies let librarians offer better service to patrons by giving simple access to what they require when they require and how they require (Mary Ann, 2007). Of course, no libraries can implement each and every technology.

Libraries have to keep a close observation of each emergence and adapt according to the institutional appetite for change (Chow & Bucknall, 2012). The adoption of new technologies would help to improve the library services to a greater extent.

The changing needs for information among the 21st century users have redefined the role of librarians (Johnston, 2012).

The need for re-skilling and upskilling the librarians due to the technological developments is mandatory (Brown et al., 2017). The libraries should make sure that the staff members can cope up with the changing environment.