Digital reading material won’t be replacing physical books or magazines at the Lloydminster Public Library (LPL) any time soon.
In fact, the LPL is continuing to make more print magazines available, despite recently adding to their online magazine collection in the fall.
In the LPL’s January newsletter, it was announced that magazines covering science fiction, mystery, gaming, scrapbooking and craft beer would be added to the library’s catalogue.
The library’s reference librarian Michele Duczek says they are adding to both collections because she sees online materials as complementary to their hard copy counterparts.
“More and more people are getting devices and they’re (saying) that they like to do everything on their phone, on their tablet,” she said. “But for every person who says that there are people who often say, ‘I’m going to stick with my print books.’ ‘Real books’ they call them.”
Duczek says the library has some magazines that are exclusively electronic, and others that only come in the physical format. There are even some book series that, due to the lengthy digitizing process, are only partly available online. This leaves the choice up to the readers themselves, and Duczek says opinions are mixed.
“I know people who are readers and don’t want to read on a device. They want the book, they want the magazine. A pile of books seems like they’re accomplishing something,” she said. “And then there are other people who love the convenience of having lots and lots of reading material in one device. Going on vacation and not taking a suitcase full of books.”
Duczek says there are no plans to offer music or movies online in the future, because it is difficult to compete with services like Netflix. When it comes to adding to the digital catalogue, the LPL waits until the fall to consider renewing its magazine services, while new ebooks and audiobooks are available each week. But Duczek says she still enjoys searching out hard copies.
“We continue to purchase physical materials for the library because some stuff isn’t available online,” she says. “I still like choosing to purchase what books to buy. Every time I purchase a book I always have someone in mind I know will enjoy it.”
While physical reading material is still more popular that electronic literature, Duczek says she expects to see the numbers level out. And while digital books have their advantage, their physical predecessors still have their charm.
“It’s a lot more convenient storage then shelves and shelves of books,” Duczek says, referring to the online option. “But we’ll still have shelves and shelves.”