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Libraries remain vital in the digital age

The American Library Association has just published its newest investigation into the state of the nation’s public libraries, and the news is surprisingly good.

You may think that odd in an era of ubiquitous alternative distractions to reading a real book — from iPads to Kindles and Nooks. But it’s really these new high-tech devices, along with the Internet, that are keeping libraries flourishing. The one fly in the ointment is that funding cuts seem to be threatening services in many libraries nationwide.

Just a few years ago, public libraries were all about borrowing books to read, or finding somewhere to study alongside handy text resources. Now the Internet has changed much of this. Today 99.3 percent of American libraries offer Internet access, via a public PC or open Wi-Fi, and 64 percent of libraries say they’re the only free access point in their communities. With that figure stepping up to 73 percent for rural libraries, it’s easy to see that the public library is still hugely relevant in a digital era.

So what are people doing in libraries nowadays? Eighty-eight percent of libraries offer on-line services for people seeking jobs. And the percentage of libraries offering e-books has skyrocketed — more than two thirds of all libraries offer e-book access in some form.

Despite this compelling evidence that libraries continue to be vital hubs in many communities, the economic reality is not that great. In fact, 60 percent of libraries report flat or decreasing budgets for this year, up from 40 percent in 2009. We hope our policians don’t forget that our nation’s libraries offer free and vital lifelines for millions of Americans.

Youth and teen events

Mark your calendars for two free fun events at the library this month:

On Saturday, Sept. 17, we’re hosting a Lego contest with prizes for all ages. This contest is limited to 18 participants and you must pre-register by Wednesday, Sept. 14. Your entry must be built ahead of time — the library does not provide blocks. More detailed rules are available at the library.

Then Wednesday, Sept. 21, from 3:30-4:40 p.m. brings Cubeecraft, folded paper fun for teens in the seventh through 12th grade. All supplies provided.

For more information, contact Kristine MacNeill, youth services librarian, at the library or at 264-2209.

Large print Christian mysteries

“Lost Mission” by Athol Dickson explores the mystery of a Spanish mission that collapsed in the 18th century. “Shepherd’s Fall” by W. L. Dyson is the latest in the Prodigal Recovery mystery series.

Other large print

“Your Chariot Awaits” by Lorena McCourtney is the latest in the mystery series featuring Andi McConnell. “The Darwin Conspiracy” by John Darnton takes us to Victorian England to explore the many mysteries of Charles Darwin’s life. “Deeper Than the Dead” by Tami Hoag and “Heat Lightning” are new thrillers by these popular authors.

Books on CD

Robert Ludlum’s “The Bourne Dominion” by Eric Van Lustbader is the latest in the series featuring Jason Bourne. “Cold Vengeance” by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child features special agent Pendergast. “Blue Velvet” by Iris Johansen is a romance/adventure story. “Retribution” by Sherrilyn Kenyon is the latest in the Dark-Hunter series. “Burnt Mountain” by Anne Rivers Siddons is a family saga set in the North Carolina mountains. “Home Improvement,” edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner, is a collection of stories of the paranormal perils of DIY.

Fantasy and supernatural

“Ascension” by Christie Golden is the latest in the Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi series. “Legacy” by David L. Golemon is the latest in the Event Group thriller series. “Retribution” by Sherrilyn Kenyon is the latest in the Dark-Hunter series. “The Devil’s Diadem” by Sara Douglass is set in 12th century England. “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline is a virtual space story set in the year 2044. “The Omen Machine” by Terry Goodkind is the latest in the Richard and Kahlan series.

Memoirs

“ESPN: Those Guys Have All the Fun” by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales takes readers behind the scenes of this sports network drawing upon hundreds of interview with its staff. “Just One Catch” by Tracy Daugherty is a biography of the author Joseph Heller.

Other nonfiction

“Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain” by neuroscientist David Eagleman navigates the depths of the subconscious brain to illuminate surprising mysteries.“What We Saw” by the CBS News team looks at the events of September 11 in words, pictures and video. “Perfect Health Diet” by Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet outlines four steps to renewed health, youthful vitality and long life.

Quotable quote

“There is no security on this earth. There is only opportunity.” — American Army General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964).

Website

For more information on library books, services and programs, and to reserve books from the/ comfort of your home, please visit our website at http://pagosa.colibraries.org/.

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