Borrowing from a digital library




I have written numerous posts about the general concept that libraries are about more than books. That doesn’t change the fact that libraries are still very much about books. It’s just that nowadays, an increasing number of titles are available as ebooks. Or quite often, only as ebooks. Libraries lend ebooks. And audiobooks, for that matter. … Continue reading






Government websites you should know about: Medline Plus




Medline Plus is a database made available by the National Library of Medicine. Most library databases require a subscription that only libraries can afford to pay. Because Medline Plus originates from the federal government, it is free. As the name implies, it is something called Medline with additional features. Medline itself is the online version of Index Medicus. For anyone who remembers having to use Reader’s Guide, Index Medicus was one of a number of similar reference serials for specialists. Now anyone can use it and understand it. … Continue reading






The American public and its libraries




The most recent Pew Research Center poll of library usage includes a fascinating statistic: 91% of respondents consider public libraries either very important or somewhat important to their community.  But only 76% consider it very important or somewhat important to themselves or their families! One non-library user expressed support for the services they provide to people less well off. That person had enough money to choose various alternatives. I doubt if that sentiment represents the entire 15% of Americans who consider libraries important for the community but not themselves. Who are library users? The poll only tracks people who are … Continue reading






USFAS: United States Federal Alphabet Soup




I was poking around the federal government’s web portal looking for something to explore when I noticed “Abbreviations and Acronyms.” That looked interesting. The link took me off site to something called GovSpeak, a library guide posted by the University of California at San Diego. So this post is not, as I intended, a look at the information made available by various agencies of the federal government. Instead it highlights the equally valuable resources provided by university libraries. … Continue reading






Presidential Libraries of the United States




Now that the George W. Bush Library and Museum has opened, every former President from Herbert Hoover onward has a presidential library established in his name. For all the snarky humor about whether the new Bush library has anything but picture books, a presidential library isn’t a library in the normal sense of the term. Whatever books it has comprise only an insignificant part of its holdings. (President Bush has written a book, so his library certainly includes that one!) Although they are called presidential libraries, they are more museum and archive than library. The Office of Presidential Libraries of … Continue reading