I am very pleased with something that our small town public library is doing. A couple of years ago, the state legislature authorized the purchase of Ebsco access for all public library patrons in the state. Ebsco is a huge database of newspaper stories, popular and scholarly periodical articles, dissertations, and so forth. It is an expensive service that most individuals could not afford on their own. Yet the public library here in Ketchikan will give me the userid and password for the asking.

A couple of days ago I learned that the state and local libraries have added to the access affording library patrons. I know have free access to Electric Library, Net Library, the online World Book, and a service called NoveList which is a huge database about fiction.

All of these outfits cost big bucks to access. They are full text, behind closed doors websites. I think it is just marvelous what the libraries here in Alaska are doing for their patrons.

For over a year, ever since the big dot com bubble burst I have heard that free content on the web is a thing of the past. There is just no business model for content providers to make enough to pay for their operations. People simply will not pay for content, the pundits say. I just don't believe it. People will pay for it even if they end up paying taxes so that the libraries can offer it. For the last two centuries libraries have been buying books so that their patrons could enjoy something that they could not afford themselves. Apparently this is just the way that libraries are adapting to a changing world. Now they are buying online content that patrons could not afford. Cool, huh?

Is this happening in other places, or is it just Alaska? If any of you have online content provided by the local library, I would be interested in hearing about it. What is being made available to you?

Anytime I see something screech across a room and
latch onto someones neck, and the guy screams and
tries to get it off, I have to laugh, because what is that
thing. --Jack Handy
All my opinions are tentative pending further data. --JWR

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