In a world where books are of interest only to a minority here is some good news: in Bolingbrook, Illinois, USA, the Fountaindale Public Library is being officially inaugurated, a new high-tech library costing nearly $40 millions. The old library will be demolished in the coming days after 36 years of honorable service.
This new library is equipped with TV screens because it has in its catalog DVDs as well, over one hundred terminals connected to the Internet and automated systems for managing the loans, all divided over three floors. These modern technology will allow among other things the staff to devote more time to help people avoiding wasting time on trivial issues of bureaucratic management of the books and DVDs in the catalog.
Not everything is perfect: except for some iMac, computers are almost all PCs running Microsoft software, starting with the Windows operating system. In these cases the official justification is that most users are accustomed to using Windows however it’s true that you can configure Linux with KDE and a theme that makes it virtually identical to Windows 7 so it’s possible that many users don’t even realize that this is another operating system. A system administrator is still needed so the adoption of free software would help saving money for the licenses of proprietary software – which over the years will be updated with additional costs – and the system security management.
There’s always room for improvement however it’s also important to point out that the new library offers Freegal, a new source of music, audiobooks and e-books that can be freely downloaded by registered users and this material has no DRM protections so it can be used without restrictions or compatibility issues.
Overall the new Fountaindale Public Library is presented in a very positive manner with the possibility to also attract young people, who may be discouraged by the environment a bit sad of old libraries. It’s a pleasure to see that there are cities that make significant investments to create what can be a real cultural center that can help new generations to discover the love for reading.