When most people around the world hear the word "library", their immediate association is "books". But when asked why they come to the library, their immediate response is, "to use the Internet." So, what do you suppose are the most dreaded words in library land?
Yup. "The Internet is Down." Oh, man!
That happened at Central Library today. When we opened the building at 10 a.m., we discovered that a crucial connection was broken, and it affected all the computers on the third floor except one. No Internet! Not even at the reference desk. Lines for the one functioning Express computer were long all day. And will be long tomorrow, as well, because we hear the connection may not be restored until after the weekend.
It was interesting to see how many people, when they heard the news, turned right around and left the building. A little sad, too - the librarian in me really wanted folks to grab some newspapers, magazines or - yes - even a couple of books.
It did, however, give us a chance to show people some of the licensed information we provide as part of library service: for the person who wanted the Declaration of Independence, we found it in the World Book Online. For the person who wanted a list of churches in California, we created a list using Reference USA. For the person who wanted a study guide for a test, we showed her Learning Express Library. The best part: printing is free!
So ... the next time the Internet is down, and it will happen - just hopefully not too soon, talk to your information professional - your Information Banker, if you will - and see what other ways we can find to put you in touch with the information you need.