What city amenity is available to the public 24/7, 365?
Naturally, most people's first answer would be police and fire.
What about the library? Meet the new digital library. Residents are now able to access many resources on-line. With a library card and a password, e-books, downloadable music, newspapers and homework assistance are accessible after hours when the doors are locked and the librarians have gone home for the day.
Like other public services, our libraries are embracing technology. These benefits are free to card holders. We can download novels to a device of our choice, hold and renew items, and avoid late charges. Children can go to museums for free, do research after school for their California Mission projects and access social studies fact cards – all from home. Adults can post comments about a great book and get suggestions based on book club “buzz” from other readers. Our local library has the Wall Street Journal available on-line, free of charge. For business people like me on the go, having the WSJ available on-line is quite convenient and saves me money. The needs of Sonoma county communities are being met with fewer operating hours from the library.
All of these services (and many more) are offered for residents free of charge. By day, our libraries still function as a quiet place to read, look for a job or study. By harnessing technology, our libraries have adapted to provide many services after hours. By night, our libraries keep delivering, even without staff on the payroll. They are providing more with less.
What other services use technology to continue their business after the lights are off? Utility departments provide information for you to check your usage history when setting your spring irrigation program and adjusting for daylight savings time. Think of the possibilities…
by Joanne Sanders, Sonoma County Library Commissioner