When I was a grade school student, I used to catch a bus with my younger brother to the library, located on the other side of the rather large neighborhood where we lived.
We would go to the library in order to read, write, and check out books for later use. We would manage to make an afternoon of it, first going to the library for some time and then stopping for something to eat, before taking the bus home. I had a library card, and the librarian was always sitting behind huge card catalogs. The visits to the local library in our neighborhood were a weekly occurrence for my brother and myself. We would go there to open our imagination and explore new frontiers.
Later on, in high school, the library provided a place to study at, first and foremost. It was a quiet place, where you could get work done with minimal interruptions and distractions. At that time, I would use the school's library, as opposed to the neighborhood one which I used to go to. It wasn't simply a question of convenience – our school's library had several computers, and they were imperative to my schoolwork.
Libraries these days are vastly different, but the principles remained the same. They are the ideal place for getting some space. Nowadays, libraries provide access to technologies that aren't necessarily available to the whole population. Having post-curricular access to word-processing software, spreadsheet software, the internet, scanners and printers – it is a real necessity for those who want to stay on top of their studies, and succeed in their academic endeavors.
Thankfully, physical books and encyclopedias are still in existence. They will always be needed, no matter how advanced the technology. Nothing will replace them. It will be a long, long while before you won't be able to find an actual book in a library. However, because of the technological advances, libraries can now utilize a lot more of their space, and cater to a wider variety of students and patrons.
As the libraries themselves begin to house more and more digital equipment such as tablets and e-reading devices, librarians are also becoming savvier, and they can be of great help and assistance to students engaged in research. They can also help out those of us who are somewhat “technologically challenged”. Librarians may know a lot more than you give them credit for, and can help with reading and writing skills, proofreading, and copyright information.
There is a lot of information available online, but not all of it is quality information. Just because it's online, doesn't make it good enough to use for a college paper, for instance. Librarians can help those who are looking for accurate and reliable resources, and they can teach them how to best apply those resources in whatever it is they are working on.
The library – be it local, school, or medical – is there for YOU. Many libraries are open to the public, so be sure to take advantage of the tools and information at your disposal.