You may have read about new services theStillwater Public Library is offering, such as netbook checkout and (coming soon) e-book and downloadable audio checkout. The library may be going even more “E,” but hard copy books and the CDs and videos we offer aren’t going anywhere soon. The new “E” services are just a continuation of what the library has always done: provide access to information and literature in the best formats of the time, and teach people how to use them.
In the past, customers asked for assistance from librarians in using the card catalog and large reference tomes, so they could find what they were looking for. When tech developed, the acquisition of an online catalog and computers with internet access required the assistance of librarians for everything from getting started using a mouse to showing patrons the best, most credible online resources out of millions of bad ones.
Now we have patrons coming in and asking us what this e-book thing is all about, how to use them and what devices we recommend. We saw the demand for this new format and have taken steps to incorporate it into what we offer. We also will be teaching people how to use our new netbooks, just as we do our desktop computers. AND we will continue to check out old fashioned books for the people who need their paper fix. It is important that no segment of the population get left behind when it comes to traditional literacy and computer literacy.
Intellectual property like novels, music, movies, and even non-fiction won’t be legally offered from their creators for free anytime soon, so until then we’ll continue our role of pulling the community together to share resources and providing them to those who otherwise would have no access. And as the world changes and technology advances, we’ll be right here, providing educational opportunities for all Stillwater citizens and leading our customers into a new generation of information.