ILSLEY LIBRARY ADULT Services Librarian Chris Kirby holds one of five e-readers now available to library patrons in Middlebury. Kirby, who also serves on the Regional Technology Team, focuses some of his time on how technology is changing the way people use libraries.
Independent photo/Trent Campbell
Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles focusing on the changing role of information technology in various sectors of Addison County life.
The series looks beyond the push for universal broadband, asking how Internet access and the advances of technology is changing life in Addison County. It stems from the discussions of a regional technology plan being worked on by the Addison County Regional Planning Commission. The plan will be one of 11 regional technology plans offered to the state to help define next steps and needs in the various sectors. We welcome your responses and thoughts on the article or on technology in general, which will help the team incorporate as many viewpoints as possible into the plan.
ADDISON COUNTY — The Ilsley Public Library in Middlebury has stacks full of nearly 72,000 paper books, 5,000 recorded audiobooks, and 3,876 videos and DVDs.
But in a sign of changing times, the library offers downloadable audiobooks and e-books through its website, its 20 public access computers are nearly always in use, and signs at the checkout desk offer a handful of e-readers and MP3 players to try out.
As the largest library in Addison County — serving residents of the town of Middlebury, students enrolled in Addison Central Supervisory Union schools and Middlebury College students — Ilsley Library makes an effort to follow the latest technology. Its catalog is digital, accessible from anywhere in the world on the web, and it offers patrons access to a variety of online databases and learning resources.
As it becomes easier for people to click a button from their home computers and find page upon page of search results on any given topic, Ilsley adult services librarian Chris Kirby said evolving and re-imagining the library’s role in the community is key.
“There is a real concern about how we maintain our relevance as more people rely on Google for information,” said Kirby.