The View From D.C. Public

Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader has offered a guest posting from Kate Rabinowitz that describes Washington D.C. Public Library's collection

"Our reading habits are evolving with technology. Want proof? DC's public library system's book collection is a lot smaller than it used to be, but it's got far more e-books and audio and visual resources."

Given the self-fulfilling prophecies we are hearing from many publishers about the death of the e-book, it is refreshing to see some statistics from a major urban library setting the record straight about what is happening in libraries. While it would have been nice to see some usage statistics to further support the claim that digital collection are growing in importance and offer many benefits in space allocation as well as convenience of use, what is happening in the District's libraries is descriptive of libraries all over the country. We are increasingly becoming people spaces and not book warehouses, and use of digital content continues to grow. Especially if we could implement a better business model offering some form of simultaneous access for popular titles, e-content will occupy more of our collections and eventually become the preferred library medium, in spite of trends in consumer buying. What will libraries look like in 20 years? More digital, less physical, more innovative use of spaces all seem likely bets.