Are Ship Libraries Wasted Space?
Written by: Kuki
Even as cruise ships grow larger and larger, they are still individual structures, with a finite amount of space.
During the design stages those involved in the process have to find ways to fit all the required and desired areas – accommodations, restaurants and dining areas, entertainment venues, recreational areas, pool areas, relaxation areas, spas, shopping, galleys (kitchens), storage for food and supplies, etc.; not to mention all the necessary mechanics needed for operations.
Due to the leisure aspect of cruising, space for libraries have also been included in that planning. It’s been incredibly common when on a ship, to see people laying or sitting about in public areas, reading. And that still holds true. In fact, I’d guess that might be one of the most popular activities on a ship, if not the most popular.
There are certainly variations in the size of the space dedicated to libraries from cruise line to cruise line; sometimes small areas with a few hundred books available; in other cases some very elaborately designed spaces covering space on more than one deck.
People still read as much as they ever did, if not more. But modern technology has quite rapidly changed the way people read. This is evidenced by the diminishing business of printed products, including books, magazines and newspapers. Newspapers are closing, reducing, or fazing out their print editions; bookstores are closing.
It is a distinct and growing movement; people are getting more and more of their information, news, and entertainment, from non print publishing. The move to getting that information and product from mobile devices is undeniable. And it’s not just the young doing it. Though they may be the group who’ve made the move most quickly, as the mobile devices have been developed to be more user friendly, the people using it have been constantly gathering steam to be almost universal.
The cruise lines have been somewhat involved in attempting to adapt to consumer technology, first introducing Internet Cafes on board, and then moving to bow to stern Wi-Fi access on many ships. I recall in early 2000, when on assignment to write Virtual Cruise Reports, each day I had to transfer my report to a floppy disc, take it to the ship’s engineering and communications room, and they’d forward it’s content to my Editor. So, that demonstrates how much things have changed in just 13 years.
Though they’ve made great strides, I think it’s obvious the cruise lines have had some difficulty keeping up to the speed of the changes. Yes, they’ve jumped all in to the use of social media, U tube, etc. Cyberspace is vast and they are finding their feet in those arenas.
But they do seem to have forgotten about it in their ship design; surprising because, as I’ve said, they know they have finite space to use in their designs.
With the ever growing move by the public to use tablets, kindles, and other mobile devices to keep in touch, get their news, and read books of choice, quite soon there will be no need for libraries occupying space on board, other than a single rack or shelf somewhere.
The cruise lines might want to walk around their open decks and public rooms and see how their passengers are reading now, and at least start thinking about the changes for their new builds.
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Posted: October 15th, 2013 under Kuki.