Re: Simple Minds

Janie Wilkins (
Sun, 20 Jun 1999 14:54:37 -0400 wrote:

> However, I drive by a library daily; it does look a bit ananchronistic.

But have you gone in to said library to witness that it is still an active and
vital institution? Many libraries have been transformed in the last few years and
they are still an integral part of the community they serve. I will point out a
few things about the library where I work, but I know my experience is similar to
that of my colleagues across North America.

I often work the early morning shift or Sunday shift and thus am the librarian in
charge of opening up. The doors open at 1 p.m. on Sunday and today (as on the
majority of Sundays) we had 15 or so people milling around by 12:45 waiting to be
let in. Weekday mornings are no different and some days we have 25 people
waiting for our 9 a.m. opening. I serve 4 hour shifts on the reference desk
daily and answer anywhere between 35-50 questions during my shift. We receive
questions via fax, e-mail, and phone as well in person. We are using technology
at libraries to reach more and more people. I teach Internet classes at the
library two or three times weekly and have total attendance of greater than 60
students in my classes per month. We have over 30 computers and 15 of them have
T3 connections to the Internet. For many people who can't afford a computer, we
are their only access point to what everyone on this list takes for granted. We
have waiting lists for our story hour programs and over 100 children enrolled in
our summer reading program. We have waiting lists for bestsellers and our
circulation has risen in the last few years. I could go on, but I won't.
Libraries are not victims of the information age (at least not yet) and to say
that they are anachronisms in today's society is premature.

I shall jump off my soapbox now. I agreed with most of your rant, Geege, but I
could not sit by and let you say that libraries are "out of place" as we enter a
new millenium.