From 1880 to 1920, more than twenty million immigrants arrived in the US. Many traveled by steamboat at major ports and then set out via the railroad for destinations across the country. Public libraries responded in specific ways, because libraries have always been important to freedom. This photo taken in front of the Los Angeles Public Library in 1939 depicts children dressed in the costumes of many different countries, and they are holding signs indicating the languages in which books were available. Comparatively, traditional libraries emphasis on storage and preservation of physical items, particularly books and periodicals. While maintained by librarians, users must travel to the library to learn what is there and make use of it. However, in the 1960’s libraries used bookmobiles to provide access to library books.
Today, we have shifted the way Americans consume literature, and other content, but an unchanging venue is the library continues to be a central role in providing open and free access to information and ideas. Moreover, the definition of digital libraries from the Digital Library Federation (1999), “Digital Libraries are organizations that provide the resources, including the specialized staff, to select, structure, offer intellectual access to, interpret, distribute preserve the integrity of and ensure works so that they are readily and economically available for use by a defined community or set of communities. Digital e-book reading continues to become a popular choice, in ways that no one would have imagined a decade ago, because it is easier to publish and distribute materials world-wide. Big Universe is an example of an educational, Kindergarten through High School digital literacy solution offering more than 11,000 e-books labeled in accordance with a child’s specific reading assessment level that can be conveniently accessed twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week using a variety of technology devices. “Harpreet Kaur wrote in Role of Digital Libraries in the Present Era: Challenges and Issues, “…The Digital library plays an important role in promoting the use of information. Digital libraries give solutions to main challenges to traditional libraries, such as storage…”
A virtual school library is an online space, available 24/7, that is an extension of your physical library. Through a virtual library, users can find and access your digital materials. It can bring together content sourced from different places. A virtual library’s online presence allows librarians to apply and translate traditional skills for instruction, professional development reference, collection development, and administration in powerful new ways and engaging landscapes. In contrast, McGill-Franzen & Allington (2009) stated, “One of the most successful ways to improve the reading achievement of children is to increase access to books, especially at home, and profoundly true for low-income families. Although libraries have transformed in the 21st century, some communities continue to provide creative ways for access to books, and encourage a love of reading by creating several Little Free Libraries at local neighborhood schools.