Libraries nourish creativity

“One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out” — Jeff Bezos So how to you go about inventing your way out of a tight box? It requires curiosity and creativity. Libraries themselves have been in a tight box lately. For centuries, they have functioned mostly as repositories of information. Rightly or wrongly, society seems to be coming to the conclusion that it does not need repositories any more. For the past several decades, libraries have been reinventing themselves into idea factories. Why did society start building large collections of books … Continue reading

Library services for the unemployed

According to a 2010 study of perceptions of libraries, 37% of respondents said that they have used the library more often since the economy tanked. Another study revealed that 10% of the US population used library computers for some kind of job help. Libraries and librarians have therefore been among the first responders for people who have lost their jobs, offering vital unemployment services. Nowadays many people turn first to Google and other search engines for their information needs. That doesn’t mean that an Internet search can completely satisfy them. It can’t, for instance, help unemployed people identify personalize what … Continue reading

The continuing value of public libraries

[ad name=”Google Adsense 728×90″] In the past ten years new downtown libraries have opened in Seattle, Montreal, Salt Lake City, that I have been able to locate in a reasonable amount of time. San Diego is in the process of building a new one. Downtown libraries in San Francisco and Vancouver are only five or six years older. In addition, other major cities around the United States and Canada have built new branch libraries. New libraries have also gone up in numerous smaller cities and towns. Haven’t they heard that the future on books is uncertain? The new MontrĂ©al Grande … Continue reading

How the public library can save you money

[ad name=”Google Adsense 728×90″] Public libraries have always been a good deal, as most of their programs and resources are free and the rest are inexpensive. Nowadays, with the economy sputtering, library budgets are suffering along with everyone else’s. Even so, chances are they still offer an array of free and inexpensive services. Oh, and if your community has a college or university, chances are the general public can use many of its services, too. What’s the first association anyone makes with libraries? Books, of course. Libraries collect all kinds of books. Chances are anything you can find at a … Continue reading

Libraries open children’s minds

According to the Children’s Reading Foundation, “It takes hundreds of hours of ‘lap time’ for a child to acquire the pre-literacy skills necessary for learning to read early and well.” Twenty minutes a day is enough to accomplish that goal by the time a child is ready for kindergarten. Any adult with even the most rudimentary reading skills can do it. Even adults who can’t read themselves can hold a picture book and make up stories. But does every child receive that kind of attention? Alas, no. Here is one way the library can greatly help. Of course, a skilled … Continue reading