Library for Accessing Atoms…or Bits?

Stopped off this afternoon to take a look at a reference book that <gasp> is only available at the library vs. online. Yes even I, Mr. Technoweenie Who Can Google and Seemingly Find Anything, discovers that occasional resource that is only (and easily) available at a bricks-n-mortar reference facility.

Here’s the amazing part though: the diversity of people at this county library (in my city of Eden Prairie) is stunning as is the physical space of this building — which was formerly a supermarket and gutted to make one of the nicest libraries I’ve ever been in — but also as stunning is what these folks are doing here. I know there are immigrants by the thousands in my city and the Somalis, Hispanics, and Russians seem to be here in force right now…which I find incredibly delightful and uplifting. This is the purpose of a library: feeding the minds of the masses and making knowledge accessible.

I’m sitting here right now on my laptop enjoying the free Wifi access filling this space. There are also dozens of PC’s connected in clusters to the internet. Virtually every machine is occupied…some with several people clustered around one machine collaborating on work as well as four teenage boys looking at girls profiles on MySpace!

The irony isn’t lost on me that I came to this building to examine knowledge that happens to reside as atoms…while other people came here to do the opposite and access the internet and knowledge and information which manifest as bits. I feel lucky to have what I have (fast broadband at home, Wifi in my house, EVDO wireless for on-the-go as well as several computers to use it) and am pleased that I can provide such robust access for my children…and that there is a place like this library for those that don’t.

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  1. steve on July 19, 2006 at 12:02 am

    i think you just lifted the collective spirits of every librarian in america

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.