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April 30, 2008

Comments

Darugh

Thank you for this view of libraries. I had not thought before of the importance of the internet in this regard.

I still have a memory-scent of the library in my small Texas town back in the Forties and Fifties. There was no air conditioning. When you entered the darkened and quiet hall, it felt like hallowed ground. The historic building, which was one of many built by Carnegie, was torn down for a modern, flat, faceless ediface in the Sixties. When I go back to visit my hometown (after fifty years), I miss the library still. But the new building does have computers - windows on the world for most of us, though I will always be in love with books.

Paul Gregg

Obtaining an interlibrary loan of microfilm materials is hard in Houston, TX. I live in a subdivision and the Humble, TX library doesn't have a microfilm reader. At the local college, one must be a student to request an interlibrary loan. When I tried to order the microfilm to a geneological library, I was rejected because I don't have a Houston City library card. So I'll have to go to downtown Houston, apply for a card, and then make my request. Phew! It should be easier than this.

Claire

In today's society, your tour points out the importance of libraries in bringing more information to those who otherwise could not afford to learn or do research - especially via internet. The tour also makes the point that it is what's inside a building that really counts. Thank you for "taking us along" with you.

BarbS

So how can we help with getting modern libraries to some of our fellow readers across the world? I remember having friendly librarians help me to climb out of a very difficult family situation into books that took my imagination far away...to better times...and to HOPE for better times in real life (which I've had the good fortune to find in the last fifty years, due to many blessings and a lot of hard work and help from strangers, taxpayers, and friends...) So, how do we pass it on?

Becky M.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to study abroad during college in the early 90's (before the internet explosion). I attended University Blaise Pascal in Clermont-Ferrand, France. I didn't have to spend much time studying (I was taking mostly "foreign student" classes that were not very taxing academically and mostly dealt with learning French grammar and a bit of literature) However, I did have to do a bit of research to write a paper on one occasion and so I headed off to the library to peruse some magazines for current information on my topic. I can't remember what the topic was, but I do remember that I found an article that was exactly what I needed. The library itself was a rather small space, and I don't recall seeing any public computers (they were still pretty pricey machines back then). I do remember there were a lot of students packed in there and most were socializing instead of studying. Not really conducive for concentration. So I went in search of a copy machine to make a couple of copies so I could read through this 3 or 4 page article (written in French) at my own, slow, don't-really-know-French-fluently-yet pace. I didn't see a copier anywhere, a machine that is pretty much a staple at every American library. Hey, almost every university here has machines with fancy magnetic card readers on them that allow you to load a bunch of money on a card and then swipe it when you need to make your copies. So I inquired, in my broken French, about where I could find a copy machine. I was BLOWN AWAY by the answer. The folks working there behind the desk (and I remember there were a few of them - and not too busy at the time...) would be glad to make a copy of the article for me. However, to get it, I needed to fill out a request form with page numbers, etc, stick it inside the magazine, give it to them and, here's the kicker, COME BACK IN THREE DAYS! I had to ask several times to make sure I understood that last part correctly. Standing there at the counter, I could SEE the copy machine in the back, resting there unused at the time. I even pointed to it and asked if they could do it while I wait. It was only 4 pages! That's about 30 seconds on a copier! I even asked if I could just go do it myself. Oh no, was the response... That wasn't allowed. I would have to come back in three days. Crazy.... I was almost tempted just to take the magazine and smuggle it out in my bag. I wondered how many other desperate students were driven to do that as paper writing deadlines approached.

Similar to an earlier comment, my thought was "It shouldn't be this hard." Thankfully, here in America, we have self-serve copiers in most of our libraries - all you need is some loose change! I chose not to steal the magazine and to stay there amid the noise and confusion and take some notes for my paper, but it was certainly NOT convenient. I was missing home a lot at that moment - and I will be forever grateful for the little conveniences my local library offers.

Paul E. Douthit

I want to thank you for your posts on libraries and literacy rates around the world. I have traveled some but never thought to look for libraries in my travels until now.
Also thanks for the different products you carry. I have just begun using the Circa system and several of my family members are clamoring to use the system as well. I currently have two of the True Writers and for the money they can not be beat.

Ian W

Recently I was in Auckland New Zealand. I went to the library, I have always checked out the library when I've traveled. In Auckland's central library was an entire wall of books by NZ authors. I had no idea that there were so many NZ authors. As a Canadian I was embarrassed because we seem not to high light our authors.
The library, more than the internet is a place where national identity lives and can be promoted. The great classics are wonderful and the foundation of our culture, but...read a book by a national author, or better still by a local author. It is important to encourage local talent, it has its place too.

I enjoy your site and your company's products and philosophy.

cheers

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