Libraries are as relevant as ever

The Mercury News

” My two days attending the Internet Librarian conference in Monterey last week reminded me of something that a lot of people already know. Despite predictions that they would be rendered obsolete by technology, libraries remain a vital part of our communities.If anything, they’re more important than ever as I reminded attendees when I addressed the group. Libraries encourage and help satisfy curiosity and the search for truth and meaning. Along with schools, the arts and the news media, they offer our citizens not just knowledge, but entertainment, understanding and the critical thinking skills we need to make good personal and collective decisions in how we live our lives and govern our collective selves.Even in some of the smallest and most remote parts of our country, there are libraries where we can expand our horizons or learn practical skills. But – as I learned at the conference – libraries do more than that. In some cases, they are places where people can not just absorb knowledge but create their works of literature or – for those libraries equipped with 3D printers or workshops, objects as well.In a world where the divide between haves and have nots is growing wider, libraries are committed to accessibility. Jeanne Holm, deputy chief information officer and senior adviser to the mayor of Los Angeles told the conference about how libraries in her city have beefed up their WiFi signals so that homeless and other students without at-home access, can go online to do their homework at night from near the library, even after it’s closed.”