Friday, October 1, 2010

OPINION: Library Still Has A Lot To Offer

Magdalena Potluck
By Donald Wiltshire

So, just who needs libraries anymore, anyway?  Now that we all have Kindles, Blackberrys, E-News Alerts, E-Bay, E-mail, Texting, Tweets and Twitter?  Who needs a dusty collection of old books?
I’m offering up these questions, of course, with my own brand of bitter sarcasm.  Libraries in general and our own Magdalena Public Library in particular, are meeting grounds for people to seek out new ideas and to discuss their own preconceived notions of what is really going on “now-a-days.”  Libraries still offer up the best selection of new novels, classic literature, books on tape, movies and reference materials around.  There is always someone there to help you find just what you’re looking for or to special order it for you through the Inter-Library Loan service.
Libraries are special places where all points of view are honored.  You’ll find Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh right there next to Howard Zinn and Bill Maher.  Where else would that happen in these times?
Want to learn about composting, growing vegetables, raising chickens?  Need to find out how to fix that leaky faucet or that squeaky floor board?  Want to enjoy a new mystery, a thriller, a true crime investigation, a sci-fi adventure?  Want to listen to a book-on-tape on your next trek up to Albuquerque? Music? New movies? Old movies?  It’s all there.
Kids of all ages are especially welcome.  There are books ready to be devoured at all reading levels. “ Wow” your teachers with a remarkable science project.  And the computers!  Did I mention the computers?  Even if you’re computer illiterate, we can make arrangements to get you up and Googleing in no time.  There are also interactive software tutoring disks available on English, Math and Science.
One of the benefits of living in a small town like this is that the Library can be anything the community wants it to be.  There can be workshops, discussion groups, book clubs, movie nights.  I’m in the process of making up a new user survey sheet to find out what you want or need from the library.  What kind of books do you like to read?  Who are your favorite authors?  What kind of activities would you like to see offered?  Would you like to see more books offered through the Senior Center, the Clinic or the Churches?
Many wonderful community members who have put in long hours over many, many years.  They have all helped the Library grow from a small collection of books in the back room of the Santa Fe Depot into an impressive, full service Library. Thank You!
I have received a response about my last column from a local Civil  Engineer who steered me toward an article in a back issue of Fire Engineering magazine.  It offers an explanation for the curious collapse of the World Trade Center Towers.  The article suggests that the questionable construction practices in use at the time of the Tower’s erection could account for the collapse.  Among other things, the unprotected, lightweight steel trusses rather than fully supported I-beams could have weakened in the intense heat of the fire.  Another question that this raises is; have we really learned anything from all of this?  Are we constructing buildings any safer these days?  More things to ponder and research at the Library.
Speaking of Libraries, the next meeting of the Adult Summer Reading Program on Water will be on Wednesday, October 6 at 7:00 p.m. at the Magdalena Public Library.  The speaker will be Magdalena’s own resident nurse practitioner, Margreet Jenness.  We will discuss Water and Health; how your own body uses water, the signs of dehydration in adults and children and what to do if you experience them.  A formula for making your own re-hydration fluid will be handed out.  All are welcome, even you teens and pre-teens!
Mark your calendars for the Big Yard Sale to benefit the GRIZZ Project: October 8 & 9 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Magdalena Fire Station.  Donations are welcome. Contact Ann Bending at (505) 681-7918.  “Help an animal in need.”
If you have any comments, problems, solutions, upcoming events, Librarian Candidates or Empty Milk Jugs, contact me, Don Wiltshire at

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