Information vs. ignorance

Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge! This month my theme is Library Love, focusing on my love of libraries generally, as well as for the Sacramento Public Library (my local library) more specifically. I hope you find these posts informative as well as fun, and that they encourage you to visit your local library to see what’s new.

As a famous person once said, “knowledge is power.” As a lesser-known person followed up: “and sharing knowledge is even more powerful.”

That, in a nutshell, is the goal of the library.

In a lot of ways, it feels like we’re all battling in the War Against Ignorance. Never have we had so much information right at our fingertips, a few clicks away, using the supercomputers in our pockets. And yet, at the same time, what good is access to anything you could ever want to know if you don’t have the ability to process that information?

Ignorance is a state of being that we have all experienced. It’s not a judgment, but a lack of knowledge or information. And the library holds itself up as a place where anyone can go in order to learn more about virtually any topic.

So what’s the best way to get information at your local library?

You can try a couple of things that you won’t get from a Google search:

  1. Ask for help at the circulation desk. Everyone working in a library should be able to get you started with a basic search and point you in the right direction, no matter what your question is.
  2. Try the “Ask A Librarian” feature on your library’s website. This should put you directly in touch with subject specialists, who can give you some more in-depth assistance on your topic and give you more personalized attention.
  3. Learn how to optimize your catalog searches. Again, most library staff should be able to give you a few pointers to narrow your searches, get you to the items available at your exact location, or even assist you with InterLibrary Loans (ILL or Link+ in California) to track down material from partner libraries to help you get exactly what you’re looking for.

Fast Facts

In addition to all of the above options, Sacramento Public Library also offers a Personal Shopper experience for anyone looking for something new to read. Just fill out the form with some of your favorite books, movies and genres (plus anything you definitely DON’T want to read!), and a librarian will select at least three books or movies for you based on the information you provide.

Thanks for stopping by, and I look forward to sharing more library trivia, tips and tricks for getting the most out of your local library — using all their awesome and often unpublicized free resources — throughout the month of April. See you next tomorrow for a fresh new post!

One Comment

  • Deborah Weber

    I love the sharing knowledge is powerful addendum – it definitely should be part of library manifestos. How fabulous to have a personal shopper librarian service! I can see it being as fun for the librarians as the recipients.