Library stays relevant with more books, new technology

JACKSON, Tenn. — Dinah Harris has been overseeing the Jackson-Madison County Public Library for four years, but she has worked in library services for many more than that.

In those years, accessing your local library from home has become a common reality.

“We have put a lot of our services also available online,” Harris said.

If you have a computer, you can get your own electronic library card by uploading an I.D. and adding some additional information. Electronic cards mean doing away with library fines.

“You don’t have to worry about over-dues if you use the e-books, because at the time your loan is over, the book becomes corrupted and you can’t open it anymore,” Harris said.

With this capability, is there a need for a brick-and-mortar building? Experts said it is needed now as much as ever before.

“The library is still seeing great usage,” Harris said. “In fact, I’ve been here four years and our circulation alone has increased by 40 percent, so people are still coming to the library. They are still checking out physical books.”

Despite predictions, e-books would cause a drastic reduction in print, Harris said the younger generation still wants to hold onto pages of ink. Even if e-books pull ahead of printed pages, Harris said the library is about more than that.

“It’s not just about the printed word. That’s huge to us, but it’s not just that,” Harris said.

The library is a place to share information, whether it be for children, “tweens,” teens or adults.

You can also take advantage of the library’s virtual reality goggles, 3-D printer, and green screen technology.

“Libraries have always been about creativity and sparking your imagination and things, so we’re really just taking it a step further,” Harris said.

The information can be shared through technology, books and meetings. Harris said they will always be open to hearing new ways they can help the public learn.

You can check out some of their services at the Jackson-Madison County Library’s website.

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