Why do we need libraries when we have the internet?

Another week, another presentation, another column written while preparing for said presentation.  I suppose coming up with 350 words when already trying to come up with enough material for a 20 minute dialogue on ‘The Future of Public Libraries’ for the Hamilton Club is simple enough, regardless of the placeholder title.  Unlike last week’s panel discussion on fake news, this one isn’t open to the public, so I have even more of a responsibility to share it, right?

This talk, which has already happened by the time of this printing, probably focused a bit on where I came from, how I learned from my mistakes, and how to apply that knowledge to improving the library.  Well, maybe just those mistakes that apply directly to managing a nonprofit, but I digress. It turns out that this column provides you, the reader, with very little information from me, an information professional.  And yes, that is librarian jargon for “librarian.”

In this talk, I plan to address the common questions I receive as a librarian, including but not limited to John Q. Public’s favorite, “Why do we need libraries when we have the internet?”  Well, Mr. Public, in case you didn’t notice, the internet isn’t exactly the most reliable source for information in 2018. But do you know what is reliable? An entire institution focused on collecting and distributing information freely and openly across a variety of formats for 200 years.  Additionally, not everyone has access to the internet to begin with. But do you know who provides not only public computers and wifi access and does not track your browsing history and offers free tech help? You guessed it. The library.

So what IS the future of public libraries?  Maybe I’ll get to that in another column.

For information on our services or upcoming events, visit our website at hamiltonlibrary.org, find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or just stop in.

Connect with Travis L. Olivera at the Hamilton Public Library by phone at (315) 824-3060 or by email at tolivera@midyork.org.

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