Wednesday, September 26, 2007


This afternoon I attended a presentation at my local library given by an employee of the US Census bureau. It was held in the technology center, a comfortable and modern room with 12 flat-screen computers, and a screen that showed what was on the instructor’s computer. The instructor was able to control our screens, so that we could see what she was doing as she navigated through the website. Then she released the control in order to allow us to try things ourself.

It was a presentation on the US Census webpage, intending to teach people what kind of information is available and how to access it. In just over an hour, it ended up being just an overview, but as a person who loves figures and statistics, I found it interesting.

Every month the library puts on a presentation about how to use different databases or research tools. I never took advantage of such things while still in school. But now that I no longer have the easy university access to endless data sources, it’s helpful to understand better what I can find online and in the library.

I am a big fan of public libraries in general – of the free access to knowledge and information, of the promotion of literary and learning, and of the ability to congregate and share in a non-religious setting. While I’ve been a happy user of many U.S. libraries, my current local library is the best public library I think I’ve ever come across. It was built just a few years ago and is new and comfortable. In addition to modern technology centers and meeting rooms, it has a gift shop, a coffee shop, lots of events and speakers, and a full-range of multi-media. One driving reason in choosing our current residence was the ability to live a few blocks from this library. Now that I’m here, I very much appreciate the access. I think someday, when I retire, I’d like to work in a library or a bookstore – if they still exist then.

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