In this day and age of digital books and ereaders some predict the demise of libraries, at least as a physical building with real people. The libraries of the future will be virtual libraries that you visit via your computer, or whatever the next technological device might be. You will download not only books but whole experiences like the holodeck on Star Trek Next Generation. (Yes, I am a trekie from before it was cool to be one.) You can not only read great works, you can experience them.
But I believe there is still an important place in our communities for the physical building and people that make up the library. There are limits to what we can learn sitting at home on the Internet. As mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been trying to learn more about this techie world we inhabit. In pursuit of this knowledge I’ve gone on-line only to be overwhelmed by all the data, little of which was helpful to me. I’ve contacted people with more expertise in this area with no results. I attended a WordPress Meet-Up on “plug-ins” (no, not the Glade air freshener) where I learned more about plug-ins than I will ever use, but not what I was looking for. It seemed I kept hitting dead-ends. I didn’t know enough to even ask the right questions.
When I received an all-in-one tablet and computer for Christmas and needed help with how to use it, I contacted the library and asked about classes. I was referred to a class on Android devices, showed up to the packed room only to find out my device was a Windows Android – whatever that was – not the Androids they were using. Another dead-end. I felt stuck, getting nowhere fast.
Finally I came to a one hour drop-in session. Bringing my device, I was the only one in attendance so I got all of the attention, hurray! Not only did I get help with my new computer/tablet, I got some of my questions about my blog answered. Hence you will note I added gadgets to my blog – places where you can sign up to receive notices each time I enter a new post, all done in less than ten minutes at the library! Breakthrough – weeks of searching finally answered.
I can spend hours spinning my wheels trying to learn on my own, searching the Internet, or I can go to the library and have a real life person answer my question. Which would you choose? Long live libraries!
What about you? Have you had similar experiences at your library?