DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
May 8 2015

We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

by Camille B

A few nights ago, a patron came to the library to pick up her holds. She was quite pleased when she came to the desk to check out, simply because everything had come in quickly and all at the same time. She thanked us for our service and walked away smiling. After she’d gone, I pondered to myself, hmm, how did people place items on hold in the old days? I mean you have a small town, where everybody knows everybody else, and there is no internet access for you to use and request items–how did it work?

And so I imagine Gladys. She goes to the library to search for a copy of Wuthering Heights and it’s not there. “Sorry, Gladys,” says the librarian, “Dorothy just borrowed that book yesterday, and it won’t be back for another three weeks. I’ll write your name down on our list, and make sure you are next in line to get the book.”

I smile to myself as I try to envision what that scenario would look like today if we had to write “Gladys” on a piece of paper and give her a call when her book finally comes in. Or better yet, send someone over to knock on her door. Maybe it’s just me, but it will never cease to amaze me the things we can accomplish with technology today–the many steps we can skip with just the push of a button or tap of an app–progress that many of our parents and grandparents only dreamed of.

No longer do we have to swallow our disappointment when the book we want is not on the shelf, or become so bored when we run out of reading material that we begin reading the words off of the cereal box. The avenues for having books at our fingertips are now endless as opposed to how it was for Gladys. Not only is it easy to put books on hold at the library, technology has now afforded us the luxury of sitting in the comfort of our homes, downloading audiobooks, eBooks and eMagazines onto electronic devices for our reading and listening  pleasure. Smartphones, computers, eReaders and tablets have now expedited the reading process.

For those of you reading this and thinking to yourselves, “Well, I’m just not that tech savvy.” Or you figure that surely, you must be brilliant to get the hang of any of this–that’s simply not true. It’s really not as daunting as you think, and there are so many great library resources that can guide you along the way to becoming better equipped at navigating your way in the eWorld.

Maybe you’re a grandparent and received your very first tablet from your grandkids last year. You didn’t have the heart to tell them you’re clueless and quite frankly intimidated by the device. So instead, you smiled, thanked them for it, and it’s now sitting in the back of your cabinet with the other knick-knacks, hidden behind the china cow.

Your sense of dread isn’t necessary. At DCPL we can help you find what you need along the way while you learn at your own pace, and you can even Book a Librarian if you figure you’d get a better start in a one-on-one setting.

All and in all there are some days, too many in fact, when I take a lot of our modern services and technology for granted because they’ve now become so much a part of our everyday lives. But the truth is, I still think they’re pretty awesome–and I’d like to think that this is how our patron felt the night she came in to pick up her holds, simply grateful.

And you know what? If Gladys were here today, I bet that she too would be beside herself with joy.

android phones and tablets

See what’s available to download now:

Overdrive at DCPL provides eBooks and downloadable audiobooks.

DCPL’s Zinio collection has full color digital copies of magazines.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Chuck C. May 9, 2015 at 10:31 AM

Great post, Camille! Glad you’re part of this team!

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