I was recently appointed to my local Library Board. Most people on the internet probably think of a local library as a smelly old place with computers running windows XP and no understanding of the internet. Thankfully my local library isn’t like that – well they do have XP machines… My local library, and hopefully yours too, provides internet access and even access to digital books. We are waiting to see if we get a grant to provide patrons the ability to check out digital magazines on Zinio. Our library has begun digitizing local history, and hopes to provide an online presence/reference tool for community organizations. In this way the local library is becoming something of a local google. They want to be able to provide accurate information to patrons who might ask – are there any free tutors for my 5th grader? Or, how many generations of my family have lived here? Or even, what is the oldest school building in our county? These sort of hyper-local queries cannot be solved by a large internet search engine like Google or Yahoo. The reason is that most of these local level bits of information are not digitized. That is where the local library comes in, providing an entrypoint for these bits of information, and even maintaining that information in a local catalogue.

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