Many people (both technophobe staff and members of the public) still seem to disparage the internet and its resources, and often blame it for a detrimental change in libraries, who uses them, and how they are used.
A perfect example might be Wikipedia, which many people will tell you is full of errors, bias, hidden agendas and downright false information, as though you would be so much safer in the secure portal of (say) Encyclopedia Britannica. Well, yes, sort of... Encyclopedias do get edited and researched, vetted and assessed, revised again, and all that. So the information they contain seems pretty accurate (if dull). They also respond to change very slowly, have very limited information on obscure subjects (even assuming they offer a listing at all) and they certainly have agendas of their own (EB seems to have quite a US bias, for instance).
Wikipedia, however, in spite of the turf wars on certain 'hot topics' has far more detail on subjects of minority interest, written (for the most part) by enthusiasts, who are experts of a different kind.
They are both useful resources, even if, as Robert Anton Wilson explains:
"When I was working on my historical novels, my wife used to collect old encyclopedias. Every time she was at a bookstore they had an old set of encyclopedias and she’d buy it. And so we had about eight different sets of encyclopedias in the house. So every time I wanted to look up a historical detail, I’d look it up in three or four of the encyclopedias and always—it didn’t take as much as three—usually only two I’d find a disagreement.
If I went through all eight encyclopedias, I’d find eight different answers. Like how old was Mozart when he wrote his first symphony? – he was either 7 or 8 depending on which encyclopedia you’re looking in. This is what provoked me to what I call “Wilson’s 22nd Law: Certitude belongs exclusively to those who only own one encyclopedia. If you own more than one you’d be thoroughly encountering a certain amount of doubt and a certainty about things in general.” There is no one reliable source; there are a dozen different sources all claiming to be reliable. You got to use your own ingenious mind, and your own talent for analysis and skepticism to try and figure out “Which one of these guys really sounds like he might know what he’s talking about?” or “Which one should I bet on?”
Every act of perception should be regarded as a gamble. From the experiments I’ve done and the experiments I’ve led and in my workshops and seminars, that has become overwhelmingly obvious and true to me. Every perception is a gamble.The major problem with the US is that about fifty percent of the population who at least thinks The Bible has all the answers. And then there are libertarians who think Ludwig van Mises has all the answers—except for all the ones who thinks Ayn Rand has all the answers. If you think there’s one book that has the answers, you’re never really going to discover anything and you’re never going to think an original thought. If you find out there’s twelve books with different answers you’re almost forced to start thinking. So I feel the internet is forcing more and more people to do something they have never done in their lives before and just try to make an independent judgment and how to judge between alternatives.
Not sure if I got that quote verbatim, but IMHO - RAW got this right... libraries promote thinking, they don't simply offer answers...we'll miss them if we get rid of them...