The Power of the Media: Attracting Attention to the American Public Library System with Multimedia Collections

Ask any random person what the first image that pops into his or her head is when you say the word “library”, and nine times out of 10 the answer will be something along the lines of books, quiet places to read, or shelves filled with old, dusty books and magazines. This common misconception of the library is presenting librarians with a complex problem: How do you generate interest in the public library when the world is extremely fast paced, and technology driven?
















Image Courtesy of Flickr

Attracting attention to the American public library system when people are so obsessed and driven by smartphones, iPads and iPods, and the Internet, can be difficult, but not impossible. Many libraries are able to create a renewed interest in their library system by offering a diverse multimedia collection.

Library multimedia selections can include a variety of the following items:

  • DVDs or Blu-ray DVDs
  • Downloadable music
  • Video games for Xbox, Playstation and Nintendo
  • E-Books

Offering these materials allows the library system to attract the attention of members of the public who might not otherwise visit a library. The following is a quick look at some of the reasons why diverse multimedia collections attract new people to the library.

Providing Entertainment During Tough Economic Times

Before TVs, DVDs and the Internet, people used to entertain themselves by sitting down and diving into a good book. The entertainment options never ran out because the public library systems would offer these people with hundreds of books to read.

Technology changed what people use for entertainment, and the library must change with the times. Providing a variety of multimedia selections for library patrons allows people to depend upon the public library system for entertainment, just as they used to before technology.












Image Courtesy of Flickr

Attracting a Younger, Hipper Generation to the Library

Some children are reluctant to read. After all, there are hundreds of new video games and TV shows just waiting for them. Public libraries hope by offering video games, computer games and the latest DVDs, they can attract the attention of a younger generation that has been fairly reluctant to pick up a book and read.

The belief is that children will want to use the library to borrow a movie or video game, but while they are at the library they might slowly adapt to exploring the thousands of books and reading materials in the building. The multimedia collection is almost used as bait to attract children to the library system. Once in the library, librarians will use colorful displays, contest, and other resources to attract children’s attention to the books.

There is a general belief that the public is not as interested in the American public library system as it was 10, 20 or even 40 years ago. Offering diverse multimedia collections might just be the key to renewing the public’s interest in the library.

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