Thursday, December 5, 2013
The Great Awakening -- A Free Accessible Online Library for America
This short video summarizes the whole idea of personal access to information. This is the most important development , I am aware of, in providing this access to everyone with access to the Internet. The impact we have seen, as genealogists, from online access to records is but a small sample of what is happening right now. If you want to know what is really going on in the world, you need to watch the libraries. They are the heart of our culture. As genealogists, if we are not aware of these developments and begin to utilize them we will be ignoring some of the most valuable tools we have. Listen, Look and Learn.
The Digital Public Library of America.
Just a note about my life in libraries. When I moved to Phoenix, Arizona, I was eight years old. At that time, Phoenix was vastly different than it is today. Our home was only a relatively short distance from the main Phoenix Public Library and I could easily ride my bike to the library whenever I wanted to do so. I would ride to the library and check out the seven book maximum and then ride home and read the books and then return. This was an important part of my life in those hot Arizona summers. I kept up this habit to the present day, although with all the online access, I don't go physically to the library as much as I did previously.
My habit was and is, to start at some point in the library stacks and look at every book on the shelves. I would then check out every book that seemed interesting to me at the time. By doing this, I could systematically work through thousands of subjects. When I became interested in genealogy, I did the same thing. I simply read through every book I could find on the subject. This has been my approach to every subject. Now, I use the Internet to find the information I want to know about any subject. Sometimes to write one blog post, I will read dozens of websites and review dozens of documents.
When I was attending the university, my first job was as a Bibliographer at the University of Utah Library. I worked in the library all during both undergraduate and graduate school. When I was in the Army, I was a research analyst and had access to a very good small library in Panama for two years. Then when I returned and went to law school, I was a research desk librarian for the years I was in School at Arizona State University. I am now, again, working in a library, the Mesa FamilySearch Library.
Maybe by reading this, you can get glimpse of why I would feel so strongly about library access and the tremendous impact this will have on our lives and culture. We are reaching the point where education and knowledge are going to be virtually free and available to anyone who wants to avail themselves of the opportunity of learning. Which of us and our children and grandchildren will take advantage of this great awakening?