The Internet Book of Life: Use the Web to Grow Richer, Smarter, Healthier, and Happier
The Librarian's Secret
The economic climate has been so rough over the last few years that many cities have had to cut back on library service. “So what?” barked the caller to the local talk radio show. “We get everything over the internet.”
What the caller did not know was that nearly one-third of the U.S. population gets access to the internet … at the library!1
When people think of libraries, they think of books. Yet, since the web came on the scene in about 1995, library use has increased by 50 percent. Many library users come for the computers and pick up a best seller on the way out.
So, the internet has been nothing but good for libraries. I know that I owe my career to it. I studied for my master’s degree from 1993 to 1995, just as the graphical web emerged. My first job was an internship at the Getty Institute for the Arts, where I was charged with learning about the web and teaching it to the librarians there. My office that summer overlooked the Santa Monica Bay. But the stunning view of sailboats on the water might as well have been a painting. My eyes were glued to the computer screen.
The skills that I learned that summer while playing with the baby web landed me a “cybrarian” gig at the University of Southern California and, later, my current job as reference librarian and systems manager at Crowell Public Library in San Marino, California.
When my husband became ill with colon cancer in 1998, I used the web to find an experimental treatment that saved his life. Unfortunately, even the latest medical research could not save him from the glioma that took him from us in 2008. Still, we were active partners in the treatments that prolonged and enhanced the quality of his life thanks to timely information that I found on the internet.
A couple of years later, after I felt sufficiently recovered, I turned to an online dating site to find new love, a marvelous divorced dad who healed my lonesome, broken heart.
As a mom, I find the web essential for managing my household. I use it to shop, find recipes, make travel plans, bank, and even learn how to make repairs around the house. My son has become a search master while using it for school. We keep in touch with friends and relatives through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
When I purchased an Android-based smart phone, I was delighted to discover the world of “apps”—little phone-based computer programs that perform specific functions. My phone came equipped with GPS (global positioning system) technology that gives it a sense of location. Apps on my phone use this information to inform me about nearby restaurants, for example, and then give me turn-by-turn directions for getting there.
Since apps act like the internet and often tie into websites, I have included a selection of them throughout the book along with tips on where to find more.
In the Old Testament of the Bible, the “Book of Life” contains the names of righteous souls. My book of life lists the names of righteous web resources: reliable, useful sites on a variety of subjects designed to help you and your family in all aspects of daily life.
Author: Irene E. McDermott
Bio: Irene E. McDermott is the author of The Librarian's Internet Survival Guide. She lives in Pasadena, California.