Miami-Dade County

Libraries need support to keep up with the digital age

Miami-Dade County needs to find a way — despite budget constraints — to fully support public libraries and help them reinvent themselves to keep up with the digital age, advocates said at a gathering Monday.

“This is a community that has rallied around their libraries,” John Palfrey, author of Biblio Tech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google and the chair of the Knight Foundation board, told a group of stake holders at the Idea Center at Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus.

Maintaining public libraries is crucial even with the Internet because, among other things, it provides access to all, especially children who need it for class assignments but don’t have computers at home, said Palfrey who also is the head of school at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts and founding chairman of the Digital Public Library of America.

The discussion, which also included Knight Foundation President Alberto Ibargüen, comes at a time when the county was ranked last in almost every category during a recent state assessment. Broward, on the other hand, won three top awards from the Florida Library Association, including being named Florida’s 2015 Library of the Year.