Libraries as valuable as ever

April 26, 2014

There has been discussion in recent years about the viability and relevance of libraries, whether they be community-based or school-based. The thought is research and information is easily available through electronic means like the Internet and that libraries are antiquated in terms of the resources available.

I live with a school teacher librarian, so I am well aware that today’s libraries are far from the Dewey Decimal-driven institutions of the past. Just like the rest of society, libraries have morphed into modern learning centers, with technology front and center.

I recently took advantage of one of the many services our local library system offers free of charge to its customers. A service that doesn’t require me to leave the comfort of my home and provides a variety of options to learn.

Citizen’s Library in Washington offers online, interactive, instructor-led courses covering topics on business, health care, technology and writing, amongst many others. These courses are offered to library card holders at no cost. I recently completed a writing course that was led by a published author. The course was comprehensive and provided hands-on opportunities to apply the information presented. A great learning experience at the best possible cost.

I know most of the other local library systems offer similar services in addition to having eBooks, research databases, movies and music available online through their websites.

Many people believe that libraries have gone the way of VCRs and the Walkman. The fact is, libraries are just as valuable today as ever, if not even more valuable. Online courses are just one example. Perhaps everyone needs to make a visit to their local library and get reacquainted. These days, you don’t even have to drive there. You can log on to your computer and use your fingertips to choose from a variety of services. Just like every other modern service available to today’s consumers.

Jim Barbarino

South Strabane


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