Do you still borrow books from your local library?
Search engines are killing the library as we know it as ink and paper makes way for computer screens and hand held devices.
But a visiting expert from the United States Eli Neiburger said libraries would have to loan more than just books to survive.
His own library, where he is associate director of IT and Production in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, loans telescopes, musical instruments and high tech tools needed for a short time.
"People who grew up with libraries meaning nothing to them other than books - as their books are going digital they are starting to question what their libraries are for," Mr Neiburger said.
He is keynote speaker at the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa Conference this week.
"If the definition of libraries is that they are a pass-through for commercially produced content, I think that may be waning.
"Increasingly, the collections that libraries will circulate will be things you can't get anywhere else."
University of Waikato information services librarian Anne Ferrier-Watson called for students to swap search engines for books after discovering half of distance learners seldom used library services.
In a world where information was just a mouse-click away, Ms Ferrier-Watson said it was difficult to break down "pervasive stereotypes" about libraries and librarians.
"Libraries aren't just about print items and librarians aren't just old ladies with buns, but some of those old ladies with buns are the most technologically adept people you'll meet," she said.
Students overloaded with information, she said, were unsure of how to properly use a library and short on time.
It was about knowing the difference between high and low quality information and where to go to find it.
"We're not anti-Google or anti-internet, we're anti-unintelligent use of it," she said.
"The internet is an incredible resource and I wouldn't want to be without it but it diverts people from high-quality information."
Conference Convenor, Associate University Librarian at the University of Waikato and former LIANZA President Vye Perrone, said libraries were still "powerful forces" which must be respected, understood and well-managed in order to support their communities.
"This is the first time the LIANZA Conference has been held in Hamilton since 1988, so we're really thrilled to have this event back in our region and to deliver a strong Waikato presence in the programme from start to finish".
- © Fairfax NZ News
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