Books are what libraries are best known for, but in the modern age, it’s more often computers that people turn to for information.
There’s pros and cons to each, but the library doesn’t like to limit itself. As well as providing free internet access in libraries (and hopefully, wifi access soon) we’ve got a whole digital shelf of reference materials available on the Virtual Reference Library.
From Encyclopaedia Britannica (not as quick as a wiki, but probably more reliable) to the Times Digital archive, we’ve got a huge range of material that you can’t get for free. Unless you’re using the library.
Much of this is availble from home using your library card number (including Britannica, Oxford Reference Online, Funderfinder and Who’s Who). Other resources can only be accessed in our libraries (including Which? Online, Ancestry, FindMyPast and Datamonitor). They are all free for library members.
These are great resources from trusted institutions. The Oxford Art, Music, Bible studies, Islamic studies, National Biography, OED and Language dictionaries are created by one of the most respected institutions in the world. Our genealogy resources are incredibly popular for searching family histories, and include access to the 1911 census. Datamonitor 360 has 50,000 company profiles, in-depth country profiles and up to the minute business news. Which? Magazine is one of the most trusted consumer advice bodies around.
All of them cost you money, unless you get them through your library.
Surely that’s worth a look, even for the most hardened digital native.
Alex – Library Officer