Why libraries are pretty great

I can’t believe that it was over two years ago that I wrote about my passion for visiting my local library, in person and online. I love the library and visit it several times a month for books for myself, and now for Chelsea.

Well I just had another great experience with the library that I thought I’d share. I was browsing the catalogue online yesterday, searching for books on making bento boxes (more on that later), and not having much luck. I then noticed that there was a live chat function that I could use to ask a question of a BC librarian. How cool is that?

I clicked on the link and immediately was taken into the chat function, where I asked what I needed to know: “Can I get books on making bento boxes from other BC libraries and have them sent to Victoria? Our library here doesn’t seem to have much in stock.”

“You can certainly request books from other BC libraries…” came the reply from a very enthusiastic real, live librarian on the other end of the chat. He looked up books on making bento boxes for me and gave me all the information about two that might be of interest, so that I could request them through interlibrary loan. That was very helpful, but I also wanted to know how to look things up for myself – could I do that, I asked? Certainly! The librarian then told me about Outlook Online, the search engine that you can use to search for items in any British Columbia library.

But that’s not all he told me about. Did you know you can also search any library in the world for material by visiting WorldCat? Isn’t this the greatest thing ever? I mean, it’s probably not something I’d really use all that often, but just to know that it is possible is quite wonderful. In terms of libraries, the world really is our oyster.

And to think that most of us were just learning what the internet was around 1992. Haven’t we come such a long way in such a short time in terms of the information we now have at our fingertips? Amazing…

What will our libraries think of next?

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