Libraries and technology

Over lunch today, which is the usual slice of time I take for podcast listening, I couldn’t help but perk my ears up to a couple of mentions about libraries and technology. First, the obvious one, Chuck Tomasi’s interview with the director of the Appleton Public Library, Terry Dawson. Terry and Chuck discussed Appleton’s growing use of technolgy, both in the growth of non-printed materials the library is circulating, and also how they’re leverging technology to help meet more customer demand. As a Board member for the Columbus Friends of the Library organization, I have pretty frequent contact with their staff, and even their director. I’ve heard many discussions about using technology to improve the service to patrons, so I listened to what Terry had to say with both a curious ear, and a knowing nod. :)

The second reference was in Douglas Welch’s Career Opportunities podcast, this one titled Invest in Yourself. One of the suggestions Douglas made toward the end of this column was to take advantage of libraries as a resource to find tech learning tools. When you don’t have the cash to spend on expensive textbooks, or manuals, sometimes borrwing them from the library and getting to work on learning what’s in the book is a great, free, way to increase your knowledge. I can attest to that. Many of the skills I’ve learned over the years have been as a result of materials I picked up at the library. There was a point in my life where I had plenty of time to work with those materials, but no money to buy my own. The local library became an important resource to me.

That’s one of the reasons I feel strongly enough about the role of libraries in our communities to be on the Board of Trustees for an organization that seeks to support the library and it’s mission. It’s also why I’m putting so much time and effort into getting a website for the Friends set-up and running. I’ll be glad when it’s live, finally! :)

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