20 May 2011

10 Ways Libraries Matter in a Digital Age | American Libraries Magazine

10 Ways Libraries Matter in a Digital Age | American Libraries Magazine was written by Greg Landgraff as an updated response to why libraries still matter - and will continue to matter - into the foreseeable future and beyond.

Of the 10 reasons given, (and they are all right on the money) the two that most directly relate to a special collection such as the BDC are:

Libraries are hubs for preserving the past. Digital libraries are wondrous, but they exist, for the most part, because of the local and world treasures safeguarded by brick-and-mortar libraries, which keep them safe and accessible for future generations. We also work to help our patrons preserve their own materials.

Of course, this is what the BDC does. We bring the past to the present and future by taking good care of the materials we hold in trust, sharing those materials with customers who visit our Research Room, Branch Library Local History sections, the "Virtual BDC," or attend our BDC@ The Branches local history program series.

If you read Connections on a regular basis, I believe you already know that seldom does a month go by during which we fail to mention some preservation technique or disaster preparedness website or workshop. We want people to have the information they need to protect their family treasures and safeguard their persons.

Libraries are there in a crisis. After the recent tornadoes in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Tuscaloosa Public Library offered college students a means to communicate with friends and family. When Hurricane Ike struck Houston September 13, 2008, the Central Library reopened within three days to help residents contact insurance companies and file federal aid applications. Libraries belong to their communities and do what it takes in times of need.

While, thankfully, we have not been tested by disaster, we do train to meet those tests should they come. For example, the County's Emergency Management department will make use of volunteer Library staff to help man the PALS Points Of Distribution in the recovery stages after a disaster. Training sessions to go over the PALS Recovery Function, re-entry responsibilities, staffing of warehouse/PODS, and how to fill out the required forms properly (Aren't there ALWAYS forms!) were held May 12th and 17th.

Take time to read all 10 reasons - particularly if you are one of those folks who is of the opinion that books are going away, the utility of libraries is miniscule numbered, and/or that librarians do nothing but let poor people, of the female and minor varieties, borrow books!

I may be just a tad biased but I recommend This book is overdue! : how librarians and cybrarians can save us all by Marilyn Johnson, 2010 to anyone who'd like to see what motivates the vast majority of people who are in the profession in which I am proud to be a member. Call number: 020.92 JOH (at Bluffton and Lobeco Head Branch Libraries); 021.65 (at Hilton Head Branch Library).

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