Published: Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Library ‘eResources' help in these rapidly changing times

“How did the music I liked in high school get to be the playlist for the oldies station?” I asked myself as I listened to Al Stewart's song “Time Passages”: “The years run too short and the days too fast/The things you lean on are the things that don't last.” I forwarded the YouTube link to a friend who replied he hadn't heard that song for “two decades.” It came out in 1978, making it more than three decades. I haven't bothered to correct him.
The years have been good to me. I've been able to keep up with the rapidly changing times. I give much credit to my chosen profession. Yes, little girls do want to grow up to be librarians. Over the past few years, my staff and I have mentored several high school students -- male and female -- in the completion of their senior projects; they want to grow up to be librarians too. Just recently I had a request to consider providing fieldwork to two graduate students completing their master of library and information science degrees at the University of Washington. They understand the role of public libraries in building strong communities. Now more than ever libraries are not only bridging the information gap but the technology gap too.
At the Mill Creek Library, we've seen firsthand how the economic downturn has led to an increase of people in our community needing our resources and services. For example, through a Washington State Library grant in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Sno-Isle Libraries has been able to provide laptops for job-seekers to use in the library. Our basic computer classes teach how to use a mouse, scroll, navigate the Internet, copy and paste, send attachments and save files. Our “eResources” include free downloadable audiobooks, video, music and e-books that you access from home and are both Windows- and Mac-compatible. The new catalog, Polaris, went live last month and is a huge leap forward in the online library experience.
I still believe that the “years run too short and the days too fast.” However, I know that if I want to lean on something that lasts, it's going to be the public library. I'm not alone in this; communities are using their public libraries now more than ever.
Darlene Weber is the managing librarian at the Mill Creek Library.