Libraries vs Technology: Which Will Win the Day?

As technology improves a battle begins to be waged between print books and ebooks. Traditionalists say the only real book is a hard copy made with paper. The progressives say ebooks are just fine. One the one extreme, we hear of books becoming obsolete and libraries not existing. However, as an author, I see the value in both.

In my daily routine, the way I’ve read books over the course of the last year has been predominately through ebooks. They’re less expensive, and I can take it with me. I can read while I eat without getting my book all messy. I can also give away ebooks for free. They are an easy way for me to get people interested in my books. However, I can’t sign an ebook the same as I would a paperback. I can use Authorgraph and do. If I’m reading for school though, I want something I can take notes on and mark up. My daughter made that observation this week as she tried to do research for a college paper. The online articles are harder to read because she can’t underline and make side comments.

DSC_8650-5Will paperbacks go out of fashion? Will libraries cease to exist? I don’t think so. This weekend, I saw the value of a local library. On Saturday, I had an author event at our local public library. It was designed for kids, but was open for adults as well. The plan was to spend the first hour and a half teaching how to draw dragons and the last half hour reading from my books and selling and autographing them.

<img="bookshelf with young adult books">As I walked in the door, the first thing to catch my eye was the bookcase. It showcased young adult books, including Dragon’s Future! Talk about an awesome feeling! My book was on a library shelf right alongside Alliegant!

Five boys from the ages of 4 to almost 10 showed up, sat down and drew. (I’ll share my tutorial on Wednesday for Mid-Week Art.) They had lots of fun, and I was impressed with their drawing capabilities. Even though we all drew from the same instructions, we came up with different dragons. To see boys sitting in a library drawing was wonderful. Then to meet the grandma of two of the boys this morning and have her tell me that they went home and drew dragons all afternoon and into the evening was even more astounding. The oldest boy saw me today and his face lit up as he explained that they had drawn and he had even made a 3-D dragon! The drawing of the dragons wasn’t the ending point for them though. They then created stories that went with their pictures! Yes, if I know the family well enough, I bet their homeschool assignments this week will revolve around writing out those stories.

Dragon 1
Here are the results of those five boys. Yes, the bottom one does have something in it. It’s just in yellow-green crayon. Be sure to vote for your favorite down in the comments. The dragon with the most votes will earn the artist a signed copy of Dragon’s Revenge.


Dragon 3
Here’s the bottom dragon so you can see it.

Dawnya's dragonDawnya's Toothless ChibiAs some of the boys finished and left, my daughter came in. She was suppose to be working on that college research paper. Instead, she sat down and began to draw. Her dragons were just as cute as the boys’. After everything was cleaned up, she did get a bit of work done, but then a junior high girl came into the library and they talked about Norse Mythology and other things.

<img="setting up for Draw a Dragon, Read a Book event">Packing up my supplies, I noticed a few things. First of all, a Saturday on a dreary May day didn’t bring out a lot of people, but there were people there. Besides the five boys, another family came in and checked out videos. A woman used the computer the whole time we were there. A man used the spacious yard to exercise his dog. In the summer time, the library is home to the community garden. The door is plastered with flyers of upcoming events. The library walls showcase a poetry and art exhibit. Artists created hangings, either paintings, photography, quilting, or drawings, and poets created poems inspired by the art. If our little library is any indication of the rest of the world’s libraries, then I’d judge they are not going to go extinct.

In this world of technology, libraries and print books have a place. It’s just a matter of balance. Both can live together as evidenced in my life and in my local library.

Don’t forget to vote for the dragon drawings. Five young boys are eager to read or have read to them Dragon’s Revenge. Just comment with A, B, C, D, or E. Thanks.

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