In his classic rock song “The Times They Are A-Changin’” Bob Dylan sang these words: “Your old road is rapidly aging/Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand/For the times they are a-changin’.”
After 26+ years with Washington County Library, it’s time to get off the road! My work here is done at the end of August.
Indeed, throughout my work career, the times have been a-changin’:
• To let library customers know about the materials they have to offer, libraries have transitioned from card catalogs to microfiche to dumb terminals to Internet access.
• In the past our spaces were comprised mostly of book stacks; the book stacks are still in place, but displayers feature DVDs, audiobooks, book kits, music CDs and more. Our Stafford Library has added a play space for preschoolers and a Science Museum of MN Collectors’ Corner space where kids can come to share what they have learned/find out more about objects from nature. Opening August 16 is a new Play and Learn space at the Park Grove Library in Cottage Grove.
• It used to be that you pretty much had to visit a library to get materials or locate information. The Internet has put the kibosh on that notion. From home, work or school, library users can locate the items they want and pick them up at a library or book locker, or receive them electronically, as is the case with downloadable audiobooks, e-books and e-magazines. Online databases that can be searched from inside or outside the library let users take practice tests, find encyclopedia and journal articles and more!
• For many years librarians communicated with customers primarily by phone and in-person. Those standard forms are still in place, but now there’s e-mail and chat and Facebook and YouTube to keep us connected.
And times in library land will keep on a-changin’! One thing, however, will remain the same: library staff will always be at the ready to help users find the materials and information they are seeking.
I have enjoyed being on the road for these past 26 years. My years as a children’s librarian were the best. For me, no library experience is more invigorating than putting heart and soul into a storytime presentation! I still feel capable of lending a hand but will leave the work to others and find other meaningful things to do….
Library Woman is Joey Halbach, Community Relations Librarian for Washington County Library. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org – before August 29!