Books, and Audio, and Video, Oh My! (Public Library)

Back when I was a just a wee one, we would spend a lot of time on Saturday afternoons and sometimes week nights, in a fairly small building, located near a mini-mall.

Over the years I watched that building swap out it’s wooden swinging doors for automatic ones, the introduction of scanners to prevent theft, switching from rolodexes, to Apple 2’s, then finally Dell computers. Even an eventual re-brand of bright colours everywhere and a functioning website that offered pickup became normal for this place.

I loved spending time there, and I think probably spent more time reading snippets of books, magazines, and movie summaries, then I did actually focusing on one topic.

Come to think of it, I’ve always had that “curiosity” attitude about books. I couldn’t just read any old book for 10’s of hours. I was very particular about what I committed to, but that was my personal journey through the experience of reading and eventual maturity of my adult tastes.

I may have mentioned this once or twice before, but my parents didn’t have a bunch of money laying around when we were growing up, so the library was an incredibly inexpensive way for me to be entertained and grow into knowledge.

But now that we have the internet, kids don’t have to use the library to pursue their interests do they?

Like everything in life, it depends.

Because of this fast development of digital communication, it seems to be quite common for social services like public libraries to face heavy scrutinization and threat of budget cuts in today’s world of lean politics and business. At least that’s the impression I often get from people whenever I bring it up. But as is often the case, public perception and personal assumption aren’t that close to reality.

It appears to be more realistic that the city is doing all sorts of things to keep it’s populous invested in learning and participating in self-improvement.

This is a very good thing, like this quote from blogger Kathy Dempsey states.

Libraries are portals to all of the world’s knowledge. And librarians make sure that knowledge continues to be recorded and saved for the future, even as information-storage devices and formats change.

– Kathy Dempsey, Libraries Are Essential

There was a time when larger retail services and public services could be very particular about what they participated in, but with this information shift, brick and mortar services need to be more diversified and inclusive than previously. That means more outreach programs AKA assistive services for those who don’t know where to start, are new to the community, are young or are elderly.

That also means providing online solutions too. In the case of the library, we can now temporarily download ebooks and audio books, and participate in seminars online. The website is online 24-7, so planning your next visit becomes even easier, you can place items on hold and then quickly drop-in to grab your books or whatever you want to borrow.

And because the library keeps archives of books, music, film, and other learning resources, the likelihood of them having something I want to see on my Watch List or Back Catalogue is quite high.

As I’ve mentioned previously in the current Wisdom Wednesday series on self-improvement – Attitude Is Everything. It is so important to participate in library culture, no matter where you are in life or what your personal goals are, the public library is an excellent way to entertain and engage your mind.

Even if you don’t like what you find your first time out, the brilliance of it all is that you haven’t spent money, and you have a wealth of titles available to look into as an alternative. And librarians are so knowledgeable of ways you can focus your efforts, they can look up material by subject, recommend authors, even tell you about local events the library is hosting which might benefit your journey.

I recently rewatched Night at the Museum, because it was in my list of blu-rays I had acquired but not opened, and there was this quote in it about the museum being a place “where history comes to life,” and while that is true the library is even greater, because it’s a place where ideas come to life. As cheesy as that sounds, dear readers.

And the theories are done for the week, my friends. Have a lovely weekend. Please comment! Please subscribe! Please contact me if you want to participate in the future!

Tim!

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