Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Happy Birthday, Libraries

Ben Franklin started up the first lending library on this date back in 1731. The concept, initially based on subscriptions, caught on, and now we are blessed with an amazing network of knowledge that can bring all kinds of intellectual property to your door.

Most of us just use the library as a quiet place to go browse and pick up a book or CD that we don't feel like purchasing. That's a huge enough service, but if you look around even a typical branch, you'll notice a lot more going on. Computers are waiting to help bridge the digital divide. Meeting rooms are hosting community organizations. Posters are advertising a series of free lectures on all kinds of topics. One local library is a nationally known center for genealogy. You can get audiobooks for your iPod. If you talk to a librarian, you'll see that their profession is obsessed with coming up with new ways to help meet informational needs you never knew you had.

Have you ever tried inter-library loan? It's incredible - if a book exists out there, but it's too obscure to find a home in the local libraries, the library will hunt it down and get it to you, still for free. I recently wanted a couple books on a topic I was researching, and within a couple weeks, they were waiting for me at my neighborhood branch.

When I was a kid, I used to haunt the stacks at the Natural Bridge branch of the St. Louis County Library (which I learned moments ago has relocated). Throughout my life, libraries have always been a welcoming place to hang out, read, study, or just browse. We're all fortunate that Benjamin Franklin, nearly 300 years ago, had a brainstorm about how he and a group of his friends could get access to the books they wanted to settle their arguments.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Jew hating member of the British Parliament George Galloway is coming to a Muslime sponsored the Overland Park, Marriot, July 2 Thanks to Tony's KC for this.

I wonder why Tony is so exicted about it.

And WHO exactly will the money go to?

7/01/2009 6:36 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Anonymous - it's also Strunk's birthday. You might want to check his book out of the library.

7/01/2009 7:15 AM  
Blogger MoxieMamaKC said...

My personal favorite local libraries are the Plaza branch because of it's fabulous kid's section and the MO Valley Room at the downtown branch. I have lost complete hours in those places.

7/01/2009 2:38 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

You're right Dan. Libraries are some of the greatest places on earth. And we have a fantastic network of them right here in the metro area.

If you live in the area go find your local library. Actually, if you live in any area go find your library.

Johnson County Public
Kansas City Kansas Public
Kansas City Public
Mid-Continent Public
North Kansas City Public
Olathe Public

7/02/2009 8:50 AM  
Blogger The DLC said...

Thanks for the post. I'll also point out that having a card at any of the libraries Jim mentioned entitles you to use them all.

7/02/2009 9:28 AM  

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