For many decades, only the local library could be counted on to have a full set of encyclopedias. Students interested in looking at full-color pictures were often the ones who spent a great deal of time with these giant tomes, and their goal had less to do with learning than pleasure. They could flip through the pages quickly, and they would never know what to expect next. It might seem as if this resource is no longer necessary in the electronic information age, but it can still be a resource for students on a budget.
Many printing houses as well as libraries have found that judicious use of online resources can stretch their budget much further, and even the encyclopedias have become part of this drive. While few families have invested in buying a complete set for their children, most libraries still find them a necessary resource for patrons. Many of them retain their older copies in hard cover books, but they may also have an updated copy on their computers.
The availability of electronics in most areas of life have given people who use libraries an extra set of resources, but many of them are restricted. The cost of producing a set of encyclopedias is prohibitive in the modern world, so purchasing even an online set is expensive. Libraries are institutions funded by the public, so they are still one of the few places that can afford them. Students and other patrons are given access through the institution’s computers, and they can still browse or search out the information they need.
It might seem as if the modern world of electronics has taken away one of the most interesting parts of visiting the local library, but flipping through the pages electronically is still a pastime students enjoy. The information is the same as what they would find in the book, but students used to navigating computer systems will find it still contains the same alluring information they sought in previous years.