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Are Libraries Still Relevant?

 
master steward
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Our library is still closed, but we've really been appreciating the "Hoopla" service they have. It has movies (not that many good ones), animated book retelligns (some good ones), and also comic books! My kids love Frozen and My Little Ponies. When schools when distance learning, I discovered the Frozen comic books on there. And my kids LOVE them. The best part was, they had titles. Nice, large fonted titles for each short story inside the comic. These titles were short enough to not be overwhelming for my son, and tempting to read (because all you see is the title until you click "next.") It was these comic that finally got him sounding out words and trying to read. I'm super grateful for our library!
 
pollinator
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Our library is doing curbside pickup, no card required. Not sure if they're letting people check out DVDs that way or just books. It started with books only. I miss going to the library, browsing the shelves of old books for sale, checking out the new films, talking to the staff.
 
gardener
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A good library is still very much relevant.  

While doing my masters research, I came to really appreciate the single most overlooked but also most important component of a library--the librarian!  I good librarian can do wonders to help narrow down the search for even obscure information.  If you ever closely read the acknowledgements section of a book--usually listed prior to chapter 1, the author credits a lot of people who work in obscurity.  Those are the librarians who are so important to doing serious research.  While Google scholar is also a great tool, I would never want to be without an actual human librarian when doing research.

Eric
 
pollinator
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I have not been into a library to use the books more than twice in over 20 years, despite doing a degree and a masters in that time. All papers are online and if you are after something very old and obscure the library won't have it either, and it's probably so out of date you shouldn't be referencing it as more than an example of a change of view anyway. (in my field of course in others it may still be valid) Neither will any librarian have a clue about a specialist subject where all the information is from journals. Unless they are a faculty librarian and then they might have a rough idea which journal to look in.

I have used librarys as quiet places to work or just to wait for a train/bus  but I pretty much stopped than when they started to hold activities and cafe's in the librarys they became way to noisy to get anything done in and kids running everywhere is not something I enjoy. I have once used the public computers to fill out some job applications in the UK. but that was 15 years back now. When I was a child we used to take out our maximum allowance of books each week which between my mother and I was 15. after I left home she kept my card so she could continue that, but even that stopped about 15 years ago. The library in her town is to hard to get to, very limited and expensive parking and for someone who cannot walk it just makes the whole thing to difficult. I've lived in this area for 8 years now and I do not know where the town library even is. I know there is a bus that comes round the villages with books as I have seen it go past, reading on it it doesn't run over the summer holidays, since the staff have their holidays then.

Speaking about librarians I see now I look that my local library doesn't have one. it's all self service, the larger town has one they are there from 10am to 1pm monday to friday, meaning no one with a job can ever get them. (there is selfservice right up until 9pm)

While looking at the website I can see what puts me off. the blerb reads: (it's called the CultureRoom rather than library)

The Culture rooms are Thisted counties ambitious and innovative take on a cultural area
A green and open cultural area in Thy, where a wide range of cultural activities have free reign.
a creative learning and activities room for people of all ages.

It's so offputting when what you really would like is a book.





 
pollinator
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I am an on-and-off library user. We have a tiny bit very beautiful library in my town. It has a large children’s area in the basement, gorgeous leather loveseats and ancient bookcases in the reading area, and a surprisingly good selection. Interlibrary loan is active.

During the pandemic the librarian has arranged for increased access to online material, including audio books and large databases.

The children’s story hour is only one of the kids’ activities offered. There is a summer “camp” for kids, weekly activities for the older kids, and de facto day care for kids with a gap between when the bus drops them off and when their parents can come and get them. It’s such a small town that this doesn’t raise any notable problems.

I’m going to increase my use of the library to preserve it!  We shouldn’t allow technology to destroy a valuable resource, both for the intellectual material and for the community-building.
 
master gardener
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I hope they are still relevant.  I worked on a bookmobile for about a year in northen MN.  This thread prompted me to check. Yes, it is still operating.   We would roll into little crossroad settlements and be the biggest event of the week. It was not uncommon for someone to ask me to pick out 20 books for them....of my choice.  In the winter some of the stops, at a crossroad in the woods, would have people waiting with dog sleds.  We served a social function well as providing books. People would invite us into their homes for tea and toast. We were the only people they had spoken to in the past two weeks.

But more than that. One heart breaking moment was when a little girl, she couldn't have been more than 14, who was very pregnant, asked me for a baby book.  I showed her Dr Suess and a few others. She told me I misunderstood.  She wanted a sex education book so that her little sister would not have to experience what she was.  Of course, I found the book for her.

Libraries do much more than provide books. But it that was all they did, it would be enough.

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