With increased technology, library services have evolved

Kolleen Taylor
Director, Bertha Bartlett Public Library
Bertha Bartlett Public Library is located at 503 Broad St., Story City.

What have we done lately at the library? Oh my what a wonderful question! I thought about this as we were allowed to eliminate the appointments for entering the library. As we all mark this past year as a year of challenges, one of our greatest challenges is to make non-library users understand how essential our services and staff really are!

We are not the same library that was established in Story City in the 1920s. But we are the library that is needed today. There have been many changes in our world of disseminating information, and is one of the primary purposes of the library, however, the methods we provide services, entertainment and information have evolved considerably.

Librarians have always assisted with research, helping people to find authors, books and information for their patrons. We love to give book suggestions! We help students find materials on obscure subjects. We assist when someone is looking for an obituary or an article in a newspaper or magazine, we help find books on repairing all types of things and books on caring for pets. This is the same today as it was in 1920.

But our shelves have exploded into multiple dimensions. We can find the information through the various databases we subscribe to or teach you how to access that information yourself. These databases provide balanced, well researched information that can be cited for college level papers or other research documents. We can borrow books from libraries who own copies of materials we don’t own. We can use our magic fingers to sort through the thousands of websites on the Internet to find the best trusted resources available for up to the minute information.

The technology we use today keeps us hopping and forces us to stay abreast of many of the newest changes. We are able to teach people how to print from their phones to our copier using our Wifi and Bluetooth technology. We talk people through setting up e-books and audio books over the telephone. We assist with setting up email and explain how to log into their various accounts. We troubleshoot problems with computers, printers, files that need to be edited, copied, printed or shared.

In any given week, my staff and I handle approximately 20 different types of technology questions relating. Some are relatively simple, some take research and a few take research, guesswork and some trial and error. We have various skill levels, but we can refer them to if more skill is needed.

This year of Covid has impacted us all, and we are anxious to offer more. Our programming is primarily online now, but we are gearing up now for a great summer reading program, and we encourage everyone to reconnect with us soon. This is still a huge leap forward from where we were a year ago, six months or three months ago.  We are grateful and are feeling the love from our patrons that we are able to open for them more.