When so Much Information is Available for Free on the Internet, Does the World Still Need Libraries?
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Libraries have traditionally been repositories of information, whether the media was clay, papyrus, velum, paper, or electronic. The main work of librarians has always been to organize and to locate information. In this new era of expanding information technology and communication (ICT), of advances in the use of the internet, and of the expansion of social media, the world has created new roles for librarians. Libraries are shifting orientation from being repositories to institutions specializing in information access and information services. In the past librarians largely controlled the content, organization, and access to information in their libraries. With the advent of new tech- nologies, increasing volumes of information are becoming available to the inquiring public, in new and different formats. In addition to the traditional library skills, librarians at all levels of the hierarchy have expanded their ICT skills to keep pace with new electronic media. In this article we explore how the role of librarians is changing in this new era. Our particular focus is on libraries and librarians in the Palestinian Territories, now and in the future. We suggest different ways Palestinian academic libraries and their work force can expand their roles vis à vis their aca- demic readers. These suggestions may appeal to a broader international audience.