Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Local Library: A "Best-Kept Secret"?

Recent highlights from Matt Vance at Lifehacker tell us some of what we already knew and maybe a bit more about our local libraries: music in multiple media, videos, DVD, internet access, meeting and conference space, and of course the “standard” treasure of books, books, and books. What might not be as widely known is that most local libraries now provide access online. “Not only are most card catalogs available online, but you can often reserve and renew materials, access online databases, ask reference questions, and more—all without leaving your computer.”

Other high points mentioned in his writing include:

  • Audio books – sometimes in downloadable formats (iPod downloads, too)
  • E-books
  • Online, on-call librarians
  • The LibraryLookupProject
  • Online account management
  • And, interlibrary loan requests

In every community there’ll be a small army of volunteers working to help local libraries survive budget cuts, shutdowns, and the ongoing squeeze on public services. Local libraries protect the heartbeat of a neighborhood. Keep information available; keep information free. Here’s to my friend, Yvonne, on the front lines of the battle at home. Thanks.

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