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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

More for 2018

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, January 14, 2018

 

Last week I reviewed some of the happenings expected at the library in 2018.

 

Actually, I didn’t finish my list and I am not one to leave a list with items I didn’t use!

 

One of my own goals for 2018 is to educate people that public libraries are still open and operating despite the Internet.

 

I have been asked many times whether the library is closing, and if anyone at all uses libraries today.

 

The answer is “yes” public libraries continue to operate and people are still checking out books, but that is only part of the story.

 

The Internet has provided the public with information at your fingertips, and it’s free!  Well, sort of free and easy-to-use.  Well, sort of.

 

The reality is that books are being checked out of our library system in the same numbers that they always have been, but they are supplemented by a lot of online things such as eBooks and all kinds of downloadable things.

 

The library staff notices that lots of people come to the library to pick up books and stuff that they have selected online, or requested from another of the 93 library systems online.

 

The library web site contains access to millions and millions of pages of information and data, accessible with your library card.

 

And the library databases don’t send you into some unknown site that requires you to buy something or pay for the right to access.

 

People come to the public library to access the Internet and use our systems with their various devices.

 

People come to the public library for children’s programming, adult programming, or help with one of those devices.

 

People come to the public library to interact with real human beings who still work in a library environment.

 

I have worked in a public library for nearly 45 years, and have enjoyed every day.  It is a new adventure every day encountering new requests and questions, and finding information for the general public.

 

My interest began in high school when I encountered an elementary school teacher who had transferred to become the high school librarian.

 

She insisted that I use my study hall time to help her in the school library, which led to a part-time job at the local public library, where the Director became my mentor.

 

Following college and library school the story unfolded with every day being a delight for me.

 

Yes, our tools have changed, and the operation of a public library is much different over the 45 years, but the basic premise of operations and purpose of a public library remains unchanged from the earliest New England libraries.

 

Whether it is found online, or in a book, for within a download that was searched out; the excitement of finding and sharing information remains the same for a librarian.

 

Within those professional organizations that librarian belong to share ideas and information, I love to hear everyone’s stories of how their library impacts lives.

 

In the past 35 years at our library system, so many people have shared their stories of parents who have started their library habits.

 

That is why I am excited that the conclusion of my career will be the renovation of our historic Main Library to open the chapter on a new generation of library user.