January 26th, 2010

21st Century Library

Now that we are well into the 21st century, have you considered what a 21st century public library is? We think about it all the time! We librarians (always a little geeky, I will admit) saw pretty early on that technology could help us operate libraries better and faster, and make accessing content easier for you. So, libraries have been in a change and innovation whirlwind for the last quarter of the last century as technology has boomed, and, so far, there is no sign of slowing down in the 21st century. Public libraries have always been about giving people—every person—access to information, knowledge, and even culture and recreation—so anyone can learn and grow throughout life. We are really a community education center for everyone. So we provide a space to learn, study, and meet, books to read and search, librarians to consult with as guides and educators, and programs and classes for children, parents, and adults. And now, providing Internet and Wi-Fi access, using web technology to provide amazing library services, often 24 hours a day—well its almost second nature to all of us, users and librarians alike.

We have retained the best of the traditional (and still vital) library services, and incorporated the most promising of the new technology based services. So, we still have thousands of books to check out (and we still love them!), but we have them in about 10 formats (hardbacks, large print, audio, paperback, of course), and now including electronic downloadable format that allows you to download the text of books and then upload them to a Sony Reader or Barnes & Noble Nook (and, at no charge, BTW). Another brand new innovation at your Cecil County Public Library—you can download audio books (books that are read to you) from our website right to your MP3 player or iPod. Then, you can listen in your car, on a plane, running, gardening, cleaning or where ever, also at no charge. Check out these services—click the Digital Library tab above, and look under eAudio Books and eBooks. And if you need some help getting started, just ask a librarian because we are here to help—it is who we are!

Sometimes, in the mind’s eye, we may still look and do exactly what we did 40 or 50 years ago. But I think the key thing to know about the 21st century public library is that it is indeed part of the 21st century, and still doing what it has always done best: creating opportunities to learn and grow and succeed for absolutely everyone in our community–just more powerfully (and more digitally) than ever!



January 15th, 2010

MLK – Words to Inspire

I like to use quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK). I use them to improve my attitude or get over some bad news, in emails and on my Facebook page. My two favorites are: “If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl, but by all means keep moving.” and “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” My husband and I like to recite them to our children. Of course, I say them in my regular voice. My husband likes to get all dramatic and use his MLK voice (which is really quite good – but I’ll never admit that to him). The kids laugh, but they listen as we discuss how each one can be applicable to their lives. Some of our favorite MLK teaching quotes are:

• Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
• Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.
• The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy
• We will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

We like the quotes of MLK because the words inspire. Additionally, because like most children, ours are spoiled rotten, we like his quotes because the words encourage helping others:

• Life’s most urgent question is: What are you doing for others?
• An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
• Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.

Last year at this time, the country was riding high on the inauguration of President Barack Obama. It was impossible to ignore the correlation between the birthday of the greatest civil rights leader ever and the installation of the first African-American into the highest position in our country. Volunteerism was a focus of that heady inaugural week and continues to be a focus of President Obama’s administration. Are you involved in volunteering on MLK Day or throughout the year? What about MLK quotes – do you have a favorite? How has it inspired you?