On MTV Live a few weeks ago, co-host Nicole Holness said (jokingly, I think): “Who needs books when you’ve got The Google?” Of course, my spidey senses immediately kicked into overdrive. And as luck would have it, a few days later, I overheard someone in the library saying much the same thing.
There’s no doubt Google has become the primary method of seeking information on the Internet. And, not surprisingly, the Oxford Dictionary of English (2010) includes Google as a verb – “to search for information about (someone or something) on the Internet, typically using the search engine Google.” But is Google really the be all and end all of information seeking? As a society, we may be moving away from hardcopy books and magazines but you really can’t find everything on “The Google”.
The library subscribes to a variety of licensed electronic databases for that very reason. Looking for an archived article in a Canadian newspaper? It’s not going to come up in a Google Search – try Canadian Newstand instead (FVRL Home – Learn – Online Resources). Looking for an article in an academic journal for vetted and good quality research information? Try Academic Research Premier, which indexes 4,500 journals and 3,700 peer-reviewed titles. The list of the library’s database subscriptions is a long one – way, way too long to list here.
So you can’t find everything by Googling it – but do we need books? Interesting question. Right now, I would respond – yes! Not everyone has access to the new technologies. It seems likely though that public libraries will continue to evolve from austere, quiet book places into what Ray Oldenburg termed, back in 1989, a “third place”. Home, work, … and a “third place” – a place that is part of community life and which fosters creative interaction between members of that community. Which is why I’m thrilled that the senior’s community meets every week here on Thursdays for coffee and conversation. Which is why I’m excited that the Home Learners hold their monthly meetings here. Which is why I love to see the Arts Council and community artists displaying their works of art in the library.
So it’s already happening. In fact, the month of April was so busy with programs – nineteen in all – that I haven’t had time to sit down and write for a full month! And, at times, it’s been a noisy, happening place. And that is likely to continue. I hope it does because we wholeheartedly embrace the concept of the library as the “third place”.
Right now we are gearing up for Summer Reading Club – this year we’ll be offering six programs for the Reading Club members, including a great wind-up party in August! And in order to do that well, the last adult program will be held on Wednesday, June 22 – Denis Leclerc will share his fiddle lore – but not to worry, I’ve already laid out the fall and winter programming and we’ve got some great programs scheduled, starting again September. But I’m getting ahead of myself – be sure to come out to see Glenda Standeven and Michelle Rickaby on Wednesday, May 25 at 7:00 p.m. – these two ladies are super inspirational and have been nominated for the Woman of Courage Award at the Global Woman’s Summit (October 2011) in Washington, D.C.
Staff pick: The Book of (Even More) Awesome by Neil Pasricha. This book is more of the same feel good, awesome “slices of life” that Pasricha wrote about in his The Book of Awesome. So enjoyable because we’ve all experienced those “awesome” little moments – like finding a drive through parking space!
Deb Ireland is the managing librarian at the Hope branch of the Fraser Valley Regional Library.