Libraries Wired, and Reborn

Be you a library , an oil company or a law office – using technology as a tool to grow your business, satisfy your customers and do more with less is so important. The NY Times has an extensive piece about how libraries are using technology.

The NY Times writes
THE low point came in 1997, a year before personal computers and the Internet came to the libraries of Terrebonne Parish, a swatch of bayou country in South Louisiana, where people make their living on the water, harvesting shrimp and crabs or servicing oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Four of the nine branch libraries had been shut down for lack of funds, and the main library, a dreary concrete-slab building that locals nicknamed “the bomb shelter,” needed repairs and books.
Today, the Terrebonne Parish main library is a year-old spacious postmodern building of red brick and skylights, built on a former sugar cane plantation. There are 81 computers linked to the Internet, all with high-speed connections, in the parish libraries. Three of the closed branches have been reopened.
Technology, to be sure, is only part of the story. The arrival of the first few dozen Internet-connected computers in 1998 – courtesy of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – brought people in and helped revive community interest in the libraries. Local leaders saw an opportunity and ran with it. They put a one-quarter-cent sales tax on the ballot for the parish libraries, a proposal that narrowly passed in 1998. That provided the funds for the new library, 81 computers, more staffing and a 10-fold increase in the annual book budget.
“Before we had the Internet and this building, the library was not considered a winner,” said Mary Cosper LeBoeuf, the head librarian. “But now it is.”
(full story)