Essay 222 – The main purpose of public libraries

GT Writing Task 2 / Essay Sample # 222

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

The main purpose of public libraries is to provide books, and they shouldn’t waste their limited resources and space on providing expensive hi-tech media such as computer software, videos and DVDs.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.


Model Answer:

In a traditional sense, libraries are places with a large collection of books where people visit and read books. However, the digital era has given today’s libraries new means of storing and retrieving information on media other than the printed pages. CD-ROMs, videos and DVDs are widely used in public libraries, and, I believe they serve both the libraries and the readers.

Opponents of a high-tech library argue that multimedia facilities are expensive. This may be true to some extent because a DVD player is often more expensive than a bookshelf. However, with immense storage capacity, these new high-tech media can actually save the most valuable resource – space. A compact computer disc can store a whole Encyclopaedia Britannica which, in printed volumes, would occupy a complete shelf section.

Furthermore, magnetic and digital media can store information much longer than traditional means. It takes great care to protect books from moisture, fire or human damage, and a book in a library serves readers for only a few hundred years. But digital files, easily duplicated and restored, can perhaps last forever.

Finally, visiting a library with multiple media access is much more interesting. Multimedia resources offer readers a dynamic combination of images, sounds and videos. A reader can actually hear Martin Luther King crying out “I have a dream”, or roam about the world with an interactive atlas.

In conclusion, modern technology has turned a public library from a place of lending and borrowing books into an interactive centre for the spread of human knowledge and experience. The investment in multimedia facilities by a public library is justified and should be encouraged.

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