Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Changing with the Times @ the Masillon Public Library

Libraries provide more than just books. (Massillon IndeOnline, 3/25/2011)

Excerpt: There once was a time when, if an individual wanted to read a book, he or she dropped by his or her favorite public library, checked it out and returned it two weeks later.

That wasn’t too long ago, but with the onslaught of technological advancements that has seemingly put so many things — including reading a book — at people’s fingertips, it can seem like eons ago.

But, just as technology has evolved, libraries have changed and grown as well. While libraries still are a great place to find the latest bestseller, they also are about so much more than that. They’re a key resource for individuals who don’t have Internet access themselves, they provide valuable job-training and education services, their literacy programs are fundamental building blocks for growing children and they serve as a vital community center.

“I’m a very strong believer in the role of the library as a community forum and a community gathering place,” said Kent Oliver, executive director of Stark County District Libraries, which has 10 branches throughout the county. “Historically, they talked about community gathering places and it used to be the school, the church and the town square. In a lot of ways these days it’s the school, the church and the public library.”

Keeping up with the changing technology has provided a constant supply of fresh challenges for libraries. In order to stay relevant, libraries have had to keep up with the constant changes in the delivery of information. Providing individuals who may not otherwise have access to that information is an important role for libraries

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