Wednesday, July 28, 2010

For rural libraries, the GOLD/GALILEO Conference is like an approaching comet: It moves! #ggconference

Journal entry from a GOLD/GALILEO Users Group Advisory Committee Representative - Conference Musings - On behalf of small public libraries and rural communities - July 26, 2010 - Susan Stephens, Director, Chattooga County Library System, Summerville, GA

“It moves, nevertheless!”

I am not sure why this quote, attributed to Galileo Galilei, strikes such a chord with me or why it makes me think of libraries. I just know it does. Galileo is said to have whispered this after he was forced to recant his position on the earth’s movement around the sun. Perhaps it conjures up perceptions about my own rural county library system - its movement slow and steady, a stationary apparition amidst a whirling nebula of more showy activity. But if I had time-lapse photos of the library system, I could prove it moves.

I could show that users of the library have transformed themselves from a single dominant group whose families have lived in the region since before the Civil War to several multilevel and multicultural groups that include first generation immigrants from Asia, India, Central and South America, Europe and Africa. I could show that computer use has migrated from one barely used word processor to a whole area full of high speed computers with people waiting their turns to access the Internet, search for jobs, continue their education and stay in touch with families and friends around the world. I could show that people who have physically never traveled farther than 10 miles from the county line are traveling the cosmos through the resources offered by PINES, GALILEO, and GOLD. I could demonstrate without question that “it moves, nevertheless!”

The GOLD/GALILEO conference offers a constellation full of opportunities for librarians serving rural Georgia to get ideas on what exactly will make their libraries continue to move. We must remember that rural is not synonymous with insular, and those of us at rural libraries can bring world-class resources to those who will never get to see Atlanta, much less the other side of the world. We must advocate to ensure that rural communities are not undeserved just because their populations are smaller. We must commit ourselves to the knowledge that our library users are different but are never "less." So mark August 13 on your calendar, and see how your library and community can take its place among the stars and thrive in the 21st century.

Register now

To the future, GOLD and GALILEO!


Susan Stephens
Chattooga County Library System
360 Farrar Drive
Summerville, GA 30747
706-857-1806 (voice)
706-857-7841 (fax)

Toni Zimmerman
Director, Resource Sharing & Interlibrary Cooperation
Georgia Public Library Service
A Unit of the BOR Univ System of GA
1800 Century Place, Suite 150
Atlanta, GA 30345-4304

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