Monday, June 7, 2010

Everyone's Loss

I just read Delia Lloyd's column about The Death of the Library. I hope it's a premature obituary because libraries are my livelihood.

I've heard the argument before: Google will render the librarian useless. But in this age of constant information, the need for someone to help you sift through the junk is even more apparent.

I'll never forget my first day at a very busy reference desk in a Pacific Northwest public library. An elderly woman handed me a slip of paper withURLs scrawled across it. Her doctor had rattled off these sites for her, to help her make a decision. She didn't even know how to use a computer, let alone pull up the information she needed. What decision did she have to make that very next week? Whether or not she should have a kidney transplant! The importance of my job really hit home that day.

For me libraries are the Great Equalizer. All are welcome: from homeless to millionaire, toddler to retiree. Your local library provides programs for all of these people, with shrinking budgets, hours and staff. If we lose our libraries, it's really a loss for us all.

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