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College's library enters the virtual age

September 11, 2010
By Michael V. Daly and Dan Towne

There's an old adage that says every item in a library should offend at least one person.

Besides its obvious stance on the merits of free speech and the dangers of censorship, the sentiment accurately addresses what lies at the heart of any decent library - a desire and willingness to serve.

That notion of service coupled with our rapidly advancing, technologically dependent lives helps that quip take on a new meaning.

Libraries, if they are to remain the free, relevant resources people depend on, must once again reimage themselves. No longer can any library exist in one space, one building. The ability to house the world's information is too great a task. Libraries instead must move beyond physical space and emerge as omnipresent in the virtual world.

The Evans Library at FM joins other libraries in acknowledging the impact that technology plays in today's society and strives to provide an exciting array of services and tools that allow our users to access reliable, quality information through our online presence.

Like 500 million other people and groups around the world, the Evans Library has a Facebook page ( evanslibrary). Being involved with this powerful social networking tool allows us to highlight events and activities.

Fans of our page also receive timely updates; almost instantaneously they're aware of new books and databases, as well as tips for finding useful websites.

Although the Evans Library is now open about 70 hours a week, many users are looking for information virtually around the clock. One of our more popular virtual features is the AskUs 24/7 reference service, www It allows users to chat with a reference librarian at a moment's notice.

Using the service is as simple as clicking on the icon located on the library's home page. We feel it's one of the most important ways that we reach our users, wherever, whenever they are.

Past articles have detailed the various online research databases available to our patrons, both in house and through remote access.

Users can learn about these and other resources and services via video tutorials that offer three-minute guided explanations on accessing the library catalog, creating an interlibrary loan account or effectively searching an online database.

We encourage you to view a quick video tour of the Library's host of other virtual services; just visit our website,

As we work on adjusting our services to best reflect the needs of our users, it is imperative that we have input from you, our users. Feel free to contact us with your suggestions on how we can make your use of the Evans Library's resources more enjoyable and productive.

Drop us a line on our Facebook page. Send a quick e-mail ( Call us (518-762-4651, Ext. 5610). We're always ready to listen and talk. And if you choose to stop by to see us in person, please don't be offended if we ask you to go home. It's only because we're already there waiting for you.

Michael V. Daly is the public services librarian at FM. Dan Towne is the systems librarian at FM.



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