Recently, a man and his son came into the library to renew their library cards. The son mentioned that he was re-enrolling in college. He knew the library would be a good place to study.
Once their cards were renewed the father asked, “We haven’t been here in a while, what’s new?”
I replied: “Well, we have added more computers upstairs so there is hardly any wait time. Our free Wi-Fi is so good, there is no doubt our neighbors are stealing it. We have added a new teen section, and new study rooms. The second floor now features a rotating local artist exhibit and outside we planted a prairie garden. We allow you to download audiobooks to your mp3 player, and e-books to your eReader. We are slowly building a collection of video games. The card gives you access to materials and services at all 78 libraries in our consortium."
They were both stunned and asked, “Really?”
“Yes," I replied. "And you can also access websites and databases through our website. Mango Language allows you to learn a language interactively online for free.”
“We also have four eReaders you can check out, and have instruction sheets to get books for all brands of eReaders upstairs.”
“We didn’t know you did all that,” they said. They also checked out an eReader before they went on their way.
This is a conversion I frequently have. No matter how many fliers we put up, or newsletters we send out, some people still see the library only as a building with books and a clean public restroom. We are in no way paving the way for new technologies, and you should not expect us to. However, we do know the difference between Twitter and Instagram. Libraries are a reflection of their community. We take pride not only in being a quiet place to study, but a place that keeps up with trends and makes knowledge personal and accessible by incorporating new technologies. Most importantly, we are proud to meet the needs of our community and patrons.
We are still a building with books and free access to computers and the internet, but we have done much to move into the 21st century. If you would like to see for yourself. feel free to stop by and ask. We can be found on Twitter @westchesterlib, Instagram (westchesterlibrary), Facebook and Pinterest, too.
Bryan Lipinski is a circulation clerk at the Westchester Public Library