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Information Updates

December 14, 2009

Enclosed please find a variety of information updates. After all, libraries are about information, right?

Well, sort of. You can certainly find a lot of information at the library. Some think public libraries are about education, and that’s true, too. Some think public libraries are about connection, which happens also to be true.

Some think public libraries are about transformation, and this is also true. In the least, you might use the library to learn how to write without using words ending in –tion.

Your public library can help you find facts, gain knowledge, continue on your path to wisdom, cross paths with people you know and people you don’t, and change in ways you intend and in ways you never knew you could. You can have fun doing so, too, if you choose.

Thus, libraries are also about empowerment, although we won’t start a list of words ending in –ment, such as betterment or investment or entertainment.

If you’re still thinking of the recent media coverage of uncollected fines at Colorado libraries, you might think of words such as embarrassment, resentment, entitlement, repayment.

Recent discussion among Colorado librarians about fine and fee schedules showed that Salida Regional Library is on the low side. The $5 limit at which we suspend check-out privileges seems low, but proportionately it’s on par with other libraries that have $10 and $20 limits but which also charge ten to twenty-five cents per day in fines.

Our fines remain a low nickel per day (except for New Books and Interlibrary Loans). I prefer this scheme. Frankly, I’ve dreamed of not charging overdue fines at all, but we would somehow have to encourage people to return things, such as suspend check-out privileges until all overdue items are returned.

I think that would be a more painful confrontation than saying, “You have a fifty-cent fine.”

We have more and more ways for you to use the library without ever incurring fines. For example, you may borrow downloadable audio books, for which you can never be fined because the recording simply stops working when the time is up.

For learning languages, we offer online access to Mango Languages, something you may use from home. Mango just increased their offerings, adding more ESL courses (English as a Second Language) and Mango Basic, new courses geared for quick study and travelers.

Why go to Mexico with only “dos cerveza” and “el bano?” in your pocket?

In addition to the complete courses we’ve had access to this year, there are 22 new basic courses: Arabic (Levantine), Chinese (Mandarin), Dari, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Pashto, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Spanish (Latin American), Tagalog, Thai, Turkish, Urdu, and Vietnamese.

And 14 basic English courses: English for Polish speakers, Brazilian Portuguese speakers, Italian speakers, Russian, Japanese, Arabic, Korean, Spanish, French, German, Mandarin, Cantonese, Greek, and Vietnamese.

Although you can still check out the Colorado Grants Guide to keep at home too long and accumulate fines, I would suggest not doing this for two reasons: one, it would be rude since there are usually others waiting, and two, you can come in to the library and use the online version, which is superior.

The Colorado Grants Guide Online is available only in the library, but you may come with your own laptop and use it via our wireless access. This way, you can save all the information you want directly onto your own computer, then take it home and turn it into knowledge, which can then be used wisely.

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