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Sh! Libraries aren't only about books anymore

By By Chris Cole
Published On: Jul 23 2013 06:36:01 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 24 2013 11:54:36 AM CDT

If you read between the lines, libraries offer many of the services people want, and they offer them for free.

POCATELLO, Idaho -

You remember the old song about going down to the library and checking out a book? Maybe even saying hello to the dictionary?

But the Internet now has everything you need, right?

Wrong, according to Marshall Public Library Director Eric Suess. (It's “Suess” pronounced like “cease.” He said sharing a similar-looking name with the famous doctor, while leading to the mispronunciation of his name all the time, is quite all right.)

"Google can bring you a million answers,” Suess said, “but a librarian can give you the right one."

He said libraries aren't just about books anymore.

"We offer books and database searching and all these various things,” said Suess, “But it's still free. And free is good."

When the reporter arrived at the library Tuesday, he heard kids laughing and talking loudly, but that was perfectly fine with the library staff. What has changed?

A lot, apparently. The library now checks out e-books, and all you need is a tablet of your own. It also offers free Wi-Fi, various places for kids to learn while they play (or vice versa) and computers you can use to look for jobs, search for grants and anything else you can think of.

Libraries are changing, and Suess is focusing on making it a community-gathering place.

"The electronic age isn't going to take libraries out,” he said. “In fact, it's making us more relevant."

The library is also in the early stages of looking to expand. There are no definitive plans yet, but there are ideas.

The expansion would include a room to bring in authors, quiet study rooms and an official computer training center.

These are all things Suess said are something a city's public library should have.

For more on the Marshall Public Library's services, see http://www.marshallpl.org

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