Public Libraries

The need for public library access is ever increasing. Its main function as a useful community information resource has now expanded as more patrons are entering public libraries for other purposes. Public libraries across the country have well-adapted to the digital age, thus making these institutions a haven for those who desire to increase their educational literacy as well. Public libraries are now serving a myriad of functions and are delivering a variety of new services to the community.
The new roles that are being assumed by a public library system and its personnel have made them one of the most important places within communities. Although this is the case, state and local government officials are reducing the budget being provided to central public library offices and corresponding branches, thus making it impossible for community members to achieve their personal goals which ultimately result in positive social change.
 US Public Libraries now serve four major functions namely:

  • Rich source of information
  • Supply educational materials to both the young  and old patrons
  • Deliver recreational activities that instill positive values and useful information to community members
  • Commonplace for cultural exercises that both entertain and educate people

These inherent tasks and responsibilities of public libraries have made them ideal places for community members of all ages. And with the digital age at our doorstep, yet a new set of responsibilities rest on the shoulders of public library officials and employees.

  • Highly-accessible, free Internet access to all patrons
  • Reliable source of modern learning materials and educational resources
  • Assist unemployed members of the community in securing government benefits
  •  Conduct computer classes for both the children and adults
  • Facilitate Information Technology training programs for the community
  • Help unemployed members of the community in applying for jobs online
  • Aid those seeking for employment in the creation of well-structured resumes
  • Lend a helping hand to members of the youth in furnishing their college applications

Looking through these new functions that the public library assumes, it is quite obvious that people are actually gravitating towards the public library when it comes to online literacy and assistance. Fortunately, local and state offices have realized the need to adapt to technological changes and have successfully reorganized the public library system ten years ago. However due to the recent economic downturn, free Internet access in public libraries is fast declining.
Budget cuts have made it impossible for a larger number of people with no Internet access at home to seek jobs and request for help from online resources. Although a large majority of communities across the country are still open to the public, the budgetary cuts are making it hard for public library personnel to provide their services all at the same time. This is highly evident in the shortened operating hours of public libraries; be it central office or its smaller branches. Resolving this dilemma right away has been the mission of the American Library Association together with public officials and patrons.
Social awareness about the functions and importance of a public library is becoming common in recent years. Listed below are the integral functions that public libraries assume and the positive results that have resulted from such endeavors.

  • Intellectual freedom

The library plays a crucial role in establishing democracy. The rich stock of information that patrons can find inside public libraries have made them conscious of their rights to freedom of expression and their rights to free education. Literacy makes it possible for community members to express both their ideas and grievances. Education also inspired a large majority of people to pursue activities that will help them improve their social status and enable them to help the nation towards progress and development.

  • Integral element to the education process

Educational and informational resources that can be found in public libraries come in a variety of formats. Books are not the only learning materials that can be found in public libraries in recent years. Aside from written books, magazines, and manuscripts, patrons are given access to the following resources as well:

  • e-Books
  • Audio books
  • Educational CDs and DVDs
  • Cassette tapes
  • Informational videos

The equity of access makes it possible for public libraries to provide all these resources to members of the community regardless of age, race, and social status.

  • Instrument of Social Change

Community services that are being organized and facilitated by public libraries are geared towards community participation and positive social change. Some of the activities and projects that public libraries most commonly launch are:

  • Reader development projects through language learning, student homework assistance, free lectures on relevant social and cultural topics
  • Cultural performances of different groups living within the community. These performances reflect the level of learning and literacy that patrons and participants are developing from joining community projects hosted by public libraries
  • Preschool story times that are given to children as part of the early literacy program.
  • Books club meetings that facilitate socialization. Adults who participate in book clubs further their appreciation of literature and the arts as well.
  • Mobile library service to rural communities. Residents who live far from central or branch public libraries are given the opportunity to borrow books and materials through trucks that go to their neighborhood.

Without adequate funding from the government and donations from NGOs and privately-funded companies, these core functions of public libraries will not be delivered to the citizenry. Instead of continuous budget cuts in this sector of the community, civil servants and officials from all levels of public office should realize the positive social change and the great deal of economic development that public libraries can contribute to a nation hungry for information and knowledge.

Public Library Services

A public library provides many services for the public in the United States. A public library is not just about checking out books but also the ability to do a variety of research, access to US government documents, old periodicals, company information and even various visual collections. The ability to find all these items in one place has always been important, especially for research but now it also includes access too much of this material online.

Articles and Information

A public library now often offers articles and information online. For some of this information you have to be a member and enter your library card, but for other items you can simply access it by just logging in. You can find company information including addresses, phone numbers and even business license numbers. You can access some of the latest research, which can then point you to the direction of other source materials if you need to find further information.

The US government documents section can be extremely helpful if you are trying to find information on laws, how certain parts of the political system work and statistics regarding things happening in the United States. The public library is one of the fastest ways to cross-reference a variety of material so you can formulate an educated opinion.

Catalog

The catalog of books in a public library includes both electronic copies of books as well as all the books they have in house. Libraries can borrow books from other facilities to help you get what you need as well. Any library they have a contract with might be able to loan a book out that your library does not currently have so that you can have access to it. The catalog at a public library goes beyond research and advanced history copy but also includes both new and old fiction. You can save yourself a ton of money by checking out books from the library as opposed to constantly buying new books. Prior to the days of buying books on the Internet and huge bookstores, many people simply borrowed books and then returned them. It makes more sense, especially for books you do not plan to re-read.

News Room
The newsroom of a public library provides you access to the most extensive collection of current news as well as historical news. You can cross-reference news broadcasts, print news, various news magazines and even opinion columns. A public library used to store classic papers on microfiche but now many have gone to digital copies. This allows you to see the information from various computers inside the public library as well as access them online from the convenience of your own home.

Librarians

In the public library the librarian resource is very underutilized. Librarians have studied all types of sources and can often give you information you did not know existed. By speaking with a knowledgeable librarian you can find new sources and specialty books that might add depth to what you are studying. Too often people rely on the Internet to give them all the current news, but this information is not necessarily sourced properly or accurate. A librarian has studied how to do proper research and can make sure the information you are provided with is accurate and usable for whatever your project.

Kids Section

A public library often focuses on community outreach, especially towards children. This means helping kids getting excited about books and learning to read. By providing various storytelling programs, activities and fun outings the library works to expand the communities awareness of books and reading. Some children are brought up in homes where education and learning are not a top priority, the public library looks to expand on the efforts of the public schools to bring reading to all children. Illiteracy still remains a problem today. In a world where you cannot read you are entirely isolated from important information and as children age it only becomes more difficult to function properly in society. The objective of the public library is to make sure everyone in a community has access to teaching programs that will help children read.

Recommendations at the Public Library

Typically, a public library will have a section of recommendations. Some of these recommendations might be classics while others will be newer releases that are either fun to read or have current significance. No matter what the category, reading helps introduce the public to knowledge they might not otherwise have access to. By looking over the recommendations, you might find yourself exploring areas of study that you were otherwise in the dark about. These types of books can introduce you to new authors and other interesting topics. Whether it affects your course of study or just expands your view of the world, you will have a broader knowledgebase every time you leave the library.

US Public Libraries vs. Other Countries

The US public library system has had some trouble as of late. The consumerism of the country has pushed people into buying books, which tends to leave libraries lacking in patrons. It also builds a greater wall between those who have money and access and those who do not. Many people cannot afford to buy expensive books all the time and without access to a library might not have the ability to learn about various topics. In other countries, there is less emphasis put on owning books and borrowing from the public library is much more standard.

Many outreach programs in the United States are trying to help revive the public library. From updating the catalog to utilizing online content to giving free internet access, the public library is available as an excellent resource to all those in the communities. As the outreach expands the goal is to get people as excited about books and electronic books as possible.

Online Library Resources

Online Resources Available from Public Libraries

 

Almost all public libraries around the United States from all different cities, counties and geographical regions provide a catalog of their online resources available at most people’s disposition. This catalog filled with so many online resources acts as means towards a wide variety of purposes that a lot of people need from the advantage of the internet and the whole world of information available through thousands of websites.

The principle advantage and main source of information available from public libraries is their subscriptions to a wide number of databases. These databases are composed of very valuable material resources in which their topics are almost limitless. Any user can log in to their public library’s website and access the databases where he or she will be able to find hundreds of sites that present reliable and effective information about their preferred topic. The topics include but are not limited to business, history, current events, news, companies, education, sciences, economics, religion, student services, politics and statistics. Almost all public libraries also provide updated editions of newspapers and magazines commonly read and demanded throughout the country.

In order to access the online resources from public libraries it is required to obtain a library card that consists of a code whenever it is requested by the computerized online system. This library card can be easily obtained by registering your personal information at the public library or through an online form. Once the online resources have been effectively accessed with this library card, users will have the option to access the following contents that are usually available on most online resource catalogs:

  • eBook Collections
  • Reference websites
  • Encyclopedias
  • Search engines that provide specific information based on search queries
  • Biographies
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Laws
  • Problematic issues and events
  • Solutions, manuals, and guides

This list only presents the most commonly searched and used informational databases and resources from most public libraries, the level at which these resources is used can be effectively expanded depending upon the library’s infrastructure, funding and location. Most experts agree that libraries that are located in large metropolitan cities and large cities usually carry more online resources available for any topic and whichever kind of individual.

Parents and guardians can also take advantage of many friendly educational resources and solutions available for their children. Elementary school children all the way up to high school can effectively use these online resources in order to improve their academic areas and improve their studies on many different ways, including but not limited to solutions, materials and lessons for mathematics, language arts, the sciences and social studies. Any student within this age range can use these wide resources to improve their grades and constantly manage to obtain high marks in their studies which will help them in their future educational endeavors.

Achieving academic achievement and maintaining a feasible learning process for students is an ideal goal for all parents and guardians around the world. Children are now at the greatest advantage to use these online resources with the help of a librarian in order to obtain all the necessary information, materials, lessons and contents that they need in order to succeed academically. Millions of children around the world who have engaged in effective ways to use these online resources available from public libraries have improved to a very high degree of academic success during their schooling years and the numbers keep increasing as new technologies and resources are released for public use.

Many internet users all over the globe constantly suffer for the effect that they cannot find effective information through the internet, no matter how deeply they search through the main search engines or through many different websites. This phenomenon causes a reduction of productivity for a large portion of internet users and has constantly evolved to the ineffective use of the internet since only search engines like Google and Yahoo are used. In order to solve this problem, internet users must effectively use online resources of information to find reliable information and not depend too much on search engines. Librarians and public libraries are committed in offering these services free of charge and present these solutions and online resources with the sole goal to provide the right means of obtaining information from the internet for future purposes.

In conclusion, the online resources available from public libraries offer a great deal of information for any kind of topic and for any kind of individual who may need these resources. Having the ability to research this information, free-of-charge and with a great degree of availability wherever you may be is priceless compared to the amount of potential that you can achieve with the application of this information to a wide number of different fields.

 

Genealogy Research

Doing Genealogy Research at your Public Library

 

Researching ancestry information about ancestors of each specific race and cultural origin is now possible with many different databases available at your public library. The process of finding reliable information online about your ancestors and your origin is somewhat limited due to the small number of websites available throughout the internet. Many people have found public library databases to be highly effective in finding reliable information about their genealogy and different statistics that can be formulated into conclusions about their ancestry. One key strategy is to know how to find these databases either through your public library’s website or through the different physical books available in the library itself.

The first step that initiates this process is to determine which kind of ancestry and genealogy aspects you want to research. You will most likely try to find ancestry information from your own race and origin, which is an ideal way to get to know your ancestry and where your ancestors originated from. Even though one’s own ancestry information is the most valuable for personal interest, many people also want to do genealogy research for other ancestry information based on their personal interests and motivation for other purposes that go beyond the basic purpose of general knowledge about their ancestry.

Once the ancestry information and genealogy aspects are determined, the next step is now to research public library’s websites for their databases. You can opt for choosing a public library website that is not solely based on your local area but also on many other cities around the nation. Many of the public libraries based on big counties and large metropolitan areas such as Chicago, Washington D.C. or New York usually offer better and more extensive genealogy databases with hundreds and even thousands of websites available for your research purposes.

The following steps are entirely devoted to the information that the individual wishes to obtain and research. All these databases contain excellent volumes of websites that present statistics relevant to ancestry, family trees, surnames and years of birth for most common surnames around the world. Historical records of family trees, marriages, offspring and migration paths have also been registered which give an overall insight into the level in which these ancestors blended within other cultures and reproduced many centuries ago.

Apart from having the availability to this information, almost all public libraries offer a substantial level of help to any person who wishes to obtain more reliable information about their genealogy. There are many librarians, assistants, consultants and genealogy experts who are willing to help any interested person in order to research their ancestry information with different effective strategies that have been applied in other cases and scenarios.

Millions of people around the world have found remarkable results about their origin, genealogy and ancestry through the different websites offered by the databases at many public libraries across the nation. With the advantage of the internet, finding effective information today about genealogy research is easier than ever before. In the past, people used to record everything in books, tiny pieces of papers and maintain a registry of data which were easily lost, damaged and sometimes handed to the wrong hands of people.

This phenomenon rarely occurs today due to the feasible solutions of internet systems available at the disposition throughout North America. People can now easily search safe computerized systems with a few clicks and obtain the information that they need in a matter of minutes if not seconds. The era of new technology is allowing genealogy research to become an effective means to obtain new information from the internet which was not possible to obtain several years ago from conventional methods.

Public libraries also provide books, manuscripts and other documents that can be effectively used in order to continue genealogy research processes. Libraries offer the advantage of the free use of the internet through public available computers for those people that do not have internet access at home and who wish to combine both different methods of research, both for online genealogy databases and printed materials from the library’s genealogy catalog.

It is highly recommended to consult a librarian for whichever genealogy research goals each individual has in mind in order to effectively research and satisfy the objectives for each specific type of research. The great aid of the internet along with the currently available technologies makes it more than a possibility today to obtain as much information about your genealogy than ever before in human history.

Is the Internet Eliminating the Need for Libraries?

Is the Internet Phasing Out the Need for Public Libraries?

 

The world of the internet has changed our lives and the way we obtain and communicate various types of information in a very effective manner. Many people around the world depend on their home internet connection for their jobs, businesses, tasks and in order to stay acquainted with all the various forms of communication presently available online. One of the characteristic trends that have been noticed for the last decade is the lessening degree of demand for books and services available in public libraries. With the advantage of the internet, many people are obtaining all their information from websites, blogs, journals and other forms of online media and not necessarily from their local public library. This trend has come to the conclusion in whether or not the internet as a whole is phasing out the need for public libraries, while this question has its own answer, it is important to explore several factors which we will discuss below in order to expound the official answer of this question.

One of the main sources of information is still the encyclopedia. Heavy volumes of books with their own guides were written as forms of encyclopedias which remained updated as time progressed with updated versions and CD’s. The internet created many encyclopedias, including the most famous one called Wikipedia, which is now considered to be one of the best and most comprehensive encyclopedias available in the world translated to many different languages and with an open free access to whoever needs information about any topic.

With the need for encyclopedias completely gone out of the equation, the existence of books, novels and many other fiction and non-fiction works available on libraries is growing in the internet. Any kind of book can now be purchased online as an e-book and it can be read on any desired platform, as well as magazines, press releases, reviews and a wide number of publications that were originally only obtained from public libraries.

The greatest advantage to society that is not present in public libraries is the convenience of obtaining all kinds of information from the internet with a minimum effort. Sitting at home and clicking on various websites is more effective and convenient than walking or taking your car to your public library and using their catalog in order to find what you are looking for, which can you easily access at the comfort of your home without doing any of the actions mentioned. This level of convenience does not only translate to comfort but it also translates to an effective use of time in the long run. Many people who use the internet for research purposes usually include a large portion of students or professionals, which need valuable time in order to meet their responsibilities and day-to-day tasks. By going to the library, they will spend a whole lot more time researching and reading than by using their computer to effectively research the contents needed. In summary, finding information on the internet is a lot more effective in terms of time consumption and convenience.

However, there is still an existent gap between the information acquired on the internet and in libraries. One of the greatest disadvantages of the internet is that there is a great deal of material that is plagiarized, fake, corrupted or somehow misleading from the actual truths and effectiveness of its source. Many people researching a wide diversity of topics will encounter that these forms of information can cause very negative effects in their research due to their unreliability. All books, magazines and any other kind of printed information available on libraries has been effectively written, researched and approved by big name publishers who have imposed stringent guidelines on the release of that information to the public.

Even though the demand for public libraries is decreasing, the demand for the information in public libraries remains at a constant rate for specific types of publications such as books that are highly technical, manuscripts and other forms of information that is not readily available on the internet. While the demand for these types of information remains constant, the demand for other books and documents keeps decreasing with the effect of the popular growing demand of the internet around the world.

Those who enjoy the benefits of sitting at their public library reading books and drinking coffee can be effectively categorized as individuals who enjoy their public library as a quiet place to do work, read or do any other kind of activity that they do not like to do at home. While this effect can also be seen as a form of convenience, it also impacts the level of demand for public libraries since the sole motivator for people is to read books that are available in the library and prefer them to read those books in physical form instead of reading them in their electronic version. Libraries also offer internet access, reading programs and a series of other activities that are not within reach to a wide number of people, these activities cannot be found or practice through the internet and thereby present a growing sector of public libraries that attract more of their local inhabitants to stay connected within their local community.

In summary, the answer to the initial question is yes, the internet is phasing out the need for public libraries but not at an extreme level as of yet. There are still many activities, resources and information that are still needed from public libraries and have therefore not ceased to exist despite the impact of the internet. Experts agree that within next decades, the numerous technologies available and the growing demand for the internet will cause public libraries to become inexistent but there is still a long journey from today for that to happen.