It's Germane

The John Jermain Library's Weblog

Are public libraries still viable?

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My answer, of course, would be a resounding YES!!!   There is a website done by the Maine State Library that has a formula into which you put the number of books, dvds, audio books, etc. your family borrowed in one month, along with the number of programs you might have attended.  The website then uses nationally-accepted standard $ assessments for each type of material.  I plugged in the materials I checked out in one month and came up with the answer that if I had to purchase all of those materials, I’d have had to spend well over $1400! 

Public libraries face interesting challenges in this ever-changing technological world.  Not only must we provide you with traditional and beloved materials like books, but also audiovisual materials as well.  We provide computer access, computer classes, computers for use by preschoolers, ones specifically for grade school children, ones dedicated for young teen use, and wireless access on the top floor.  Thanks to our participation in the Suffolk Cooperative Library System we are able to provide you with access to credible information from vetted databases that we could never afford to purchase on our own.  Google is great, but one must be careful to check the sites you access very carefully – when were they updated?  Who is the author?  What sites do they link to?  Is the information biased?

Of course reference services are traditional library services as well.  The only change is that we can provide answers via a plethora of sources and technologies.  Pretty soon, some libraries in Suffolk will allow you to look up materials in the library’s catalog whilst walking through the stacks; you will use your cellphone to do this.  It constantly amazes me that new technology arises as such a rapid pace.

We do our best at John Jermain to provide you with both traditional and non-traditional services.  Despite the limitations of the building, I think that the staff here do a fantastic job.  They know most of your names, provide you with polite service, endeavor to find the materials you want, and go the extra mile in finding answers to your reference questions.

So, I’d like to say WELL DONE to the staff here at the library.

Author: jjdirector

B. Allison Gray is the Director of the John Jermaim Memorial Library in Sag Harbor, NY.

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