Do we still need libraries? A debate lesson

Do we still need libraries? A debate lesson

Today’s world is full of brand-new trends, social media resources, and digital progress.

This worksheet is designed to help your students decide whether we still need libraries in our digital era and debate their ideas.

Level: Intermediate and higher

Age: teens and adults

Time: 50 minutes 

Activities: Speaking, Reading, Writing. Watching a video. 

Task 1. Lead-in 

Express your opinion on the questions below. 

What kinds of books can you see in the picture?

Which books do you prefer: e-books or paper ones? Why?

Do you think we still need libraries? Explain your opinion.

Task 2. Speaking 

Read the statements. Put them into the “advantages” or “disadvantages of libraries” category.  

  • They can be community hubs (places where people meet and discuss currently important issues). 
  • There are operating hours, and a person can’t go there at any time he or she wants. 
  • They can provide books for vulnerable groups such as homeless people.
  • Some of these places aren’t modern and not equipped with new technologies.
  • Mostly, books are free there. 
  • These places can help people who don’t know how to deal with gadgets.
  • There are time restrictions for working with a particle book or resource. 

Add more arguments to both categories. 

Task 3. Watching a video

  • Pre-watching 

Discuss the questions. 

  1. What does a librarian do? 
  2. What skills does a person need to become a good librarian? 
  3. Have you ever thought of becoming a librarian?  
  4. What are the pros and cons of being a librarian? 
  • While-watching 

Watch the video where librarians. 

Note down the things they wish we knew about libraries and librarians.

  • Post-watching 

Answer the questions:

  1. What are some of the essential things librarians wish we knew?
  2. Are you surprised about any of the points mentioned in the video?
  3. Which fact surprised you most?

Task 4.  Speaking

Based on the video describe an ordinary workday of a librarian. 

Think about the following: 

  1. How do they start their workday?
  2. Do they interact with many people during the day?
  3. What challenges do they face every day? How do they cope with them?
  4. How do they help people who come to their library?
  5. How long is their working day?
  6. Are they satisfied with this job?

Write down some key points and tell your teacher and your peers about the usual working day of a librarian. 

Task 5. Speaking 

Read the quotes. You can agree, disagree, or partially agree with each of them. Give reasons for your opinion. 

“When in doubt go to the library.”

– J.K. Rowling 

“Bad libraries build collections, good libraries build services, great libraries build communities.”

– R. David Lankes 

“To build up a library is to create a life. It’s never just a random collection of books.”

– Carlos María Domínguez

“The truth is libraries are clubhouses for free speech, controversy, and community.”

– Paula Poundstone

“In the nonstop tsunami of global information, librarians provide us with floaties and teach us to swim.”

– Linton Weeks

“If I was a book, I would like to be a library book, so I would be taken home by all different sorts of kids.”

– Cornelia Funke

Task 6. Debating

Think about whether we need libraries in the digital era or not. Choose your position. Try to debate it with your opponents. The following questions may help:

  • Now, do you think we still need libraries?
  • Have you changed your ideas since the beginning of the lesson? 
  • If so, what made you change your ideas?

Some of the prompts are:

Cons: “We don’t need libraries because we have free access to almost any books on our smartphone. Moreover,…  “ 

Pros: “Libraries aren’t just stores of books. They are a kind of real-life clubhouse. And here’s why…” 

Speaking activities are, obviously, essential for English language speaking classes. A lot of students join classes particularly to develop their communicative competence, become more fluent, versatile, adaptable, and confident communicators in English. However, designing speaking activities might be time-consuming and nerve-wracking for any teacher. We have prepared a memo with superb ready-made speaking tasks that will make your student talking. Download it here.

Alena Kladieva

Алена Кладьева

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