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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Libraries – who needs them? We do!

Posted by Deanne H.

More than two years ago I wrote a post for this blog about the need for libraries.  Since the world and information change at a blinding pace, we thought that it was time to revisit that topic.  It always surprises me that some folks think that the above mentioned speed of change has left libraries in the dust.  The irony is that internet searching goes faster with the assistance of a librarian. Like everyone who searches, I am positive that you have Googled something and obtained 2,657,305 results.  Libraries have trained librarians who can help. We wrote the book on how to organize information (thank you, Melvil Dewey!). You don’t have to slog through all of those hits to find what you really need. Chances are, our staff has answered that question in the past and we can help you find just the right answer quickly. Call us, send us an email, we love to help.

Yes, the internet is a wonderful way to get information; shop; connect with friends, colleagues, and family; and apply for jobs. But what happens if you do not own a computer or have an internet connection?  Or what happens if your computer skills are rusty, at best? Libraries solve that problem!  Many libraries (including ours) do not require a library card or charge a fee to use a computer. We have many public computers available and fast internet access.  We offer one-on-one assistance and group computer classes to enhance your skills.  We also provide WiFi access throughout our building.  Bring in your laptop or handheld device and access our internet connection from a comfy chair with a beautiful view of City Park. 

Libraries are essential in saving and archiving information. Yes, you can find a copy of a newspaper online. However, chances are it isn’t the entire edition; it’s a shortened online version. Our library has our local newspaper (the whole thing including the ads) on microfilm back to 1819.  We are microfilming the current editions of the newspaper so that our children and grandchildren can discover what life was really like in the 21st century. We have also digitized lots of great local history resources while archiving the print versions of these materials. Libraries, museums, and archives make it possible to look back while moving forward quickly.

Obviously one of the best parts about working in a Library is being surrounded by books and readers. If you are stumped for a good read our staff is ready, willing, and able to suggest one title or twenty.  We’ll find out what you like and keep you supplied with a never ending stack of TBR’s (to be reads).  Also, just check this blog regularly for an amazingly varied array of recommendations.

Finally, unlike Amazon or Starbucks, libraries are not trying to sell you something.  In most cases, you’ve already paid for us.  (In Illinois public libraries are generally supported by property taxes.)  Come on in, have a seat, see what we have to offer.  We’re prepared to amaze and delight you now and in the future.

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