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Better Than Google

Libraries have changed quite a bit over the last decade or two due to the Internet and the advent of electronic databases.  In olden days, librarians relied almost entirely on reference books to answer questions.  Now the information has been transformed from print to electronic resources.  Sadly, our print reference collection has shrunk and continues to get smaller.  Happily, the information is still available and in a more accessible and convenient form.  Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, the electronic library never closes, and the information you need is always there for you.

One of the biggest challenges facing librarians today is how to show our users how to search for information without using the ubiquitous Google.  The library subscribes to many databases and sets of e-books which will greatly enhance your information seeking.  Our databases which are paid for by New York State, RCLS, and our taxpayers, are too costly for an individual to subscribe, but we can offer you free and in most cases, remote access.  Most people are amazed at what is available and how easy it is to use.  To access our subscriptions, click on the tab on our home page marked Research, then click on Databases and you can see for yourself (or, use this link to open the page in a new window: New City Library Databases).

A look at our database and magazine article pages on our website will convince of the depth and breadth of our subscriptions.  Can’t sleep because you’re worried about your stocks?  Log on to Financial Ratings Series on-line and check out your investments.  Maybe they are not doing well and you have to consider selling your collection of Depression glass.  Check Price it! Antiques and Collectibles and see what they’re selling for.  Want to shine at your book club?  Our many literature databases, such as Gale Literature Resource Center, will give you reviews and criticism so that you can dazzle your friends with your erudition and keen insight.   Attorneys and lay people alike flock to the library to use the county’s only subscription to Westlaw, a premier legal database.   This is just a tiny sampling of the wealth of information available to you.  I plan to highlight a database every month and the adult services librarians are happy to introduce you to them in the library.  I guarantee that soon you will be saying about our databases that they are “better than Google”!

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Better Than Google?

I love the perspective of the blog, and I believe that libraries are incredibly underused. In the age of The E-Reader, and Amazons "Kindle" which I think is the worst thing to happen to the world of literature since Stephanie Meyer (IMO of course), and in a world where everything is just a click away and "Google" has become a household name. Who would have ever thought "Google" a word that has no meaning, makes no sense, and sounds absolutely ridiculous would become part of our daily lives.

Statements like the ever famous "I'm going to Google it" are so popular that it makes me come to a serious perplexing question. Since when has Google become the all knowing Guru of infinite knowledge and Wisdom? In the same retrospect I hold the same regard toward Wikipedia, and it's creditability source of the truth.

You see I was a Library Child and growing up right next to New City Library at Heritage Drive Condominiums I would find myself there almost every single day. I would find myself either downstairs reading the Gaming Magazines, or Comic Books, or I was reading about Parapsychology, Real Ghost Stories, and Haunted Houses.

Authors like Daniel Cohen with "Phone Call from a Ghost", Alvin Schwartz and his famous "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" Parts 1-3. The library was my Internet, because in my day there was no internet, and around 1997-8, what was considered the internet was in no way what it is today.

However, allow me to play Devil's Advocate for a moment. As much as it pains me to see this world succumb to the Internet for knowledge, there are things that Google can do that a Library simply cannot. Information is found much faster on Bing (I prefer Bing rather than Google, yet I have an Android Phone, how hypocritical am I lol).

Google can help you find locations, maps, people, lost connections, search someone's background, do shopping for the lowest price by using Google's Product Search Engine Froogle, and you get prices matches so you wind up saving sometimes more than Amazon and even Ebay.

Yes, we have come to a world where something has happened, we have gotten to the point where we are dominated by Social Networks, use Online Dating (1 out of every 4 relationships start online) instead of meeting people face to face, and use Google to seek out Information, but in my opinion there is something far worse than Google happening to Libraries, and that is the dreaded E-Reader.

The day humanity completely chooses to use an Electronic Reading Device or prefer one over a Book. The day a Library gets shut down because of The E-Reader, on that day, Humanity is truly lost.



Let's be honest

WHile it's true that we do need libraries and we do need the printed book, the current library model is an anachronism: TWO (!) professional-salaried librarians on duty at each desk, with nary a professional task to perform.


Wouldn't one professional suffice?

Seem to me that the non-professional tasks (shushing the cell phone users, helping the elderly with the internet, etc) could be done just as capably by someone with a clerical salary.


The one professional is needed on the off chance (once per day?) that something comes up that actually requires a real librarian.


Seems to me that the libraries (all of them, not just New City) function as a private country club for the professional staff that loves to chum around with each other there.


WHy I am I writing this?

Because I love libraries and resent that the response to budget cutbacks is to reduce hours, reduce acquisitions, reduce lighting, reduce air conditioning -- everything other than reduce the personnel costs.