Last week, my good virtual friend Ernie the Attorney tried Google Answers:
Now, I don't blame Ernie for trying GA because it's one click from typing "google" into your address toolbar. I did still call him on it in an email and noted that he could have gotten an answer for free from his local library. Here's his response:
Again, I don't fault Ernie at all for this, but if a smart and net-savvy guy like Ernie isn't aware of the services his local library offers, how are we going to reach the rest of the web surfers out there? An od question still seeking answers.
Ernie's experience has prompted me to try and get my act together enough to submit a LSTA grant application to create a search toolbar for a library's catalog, with a link to its virtual reference service if one is available (or a statewide one like My Web Librarian), and Jon Udell's LibraryLookup bookmarklet, all created through a wizard that any library could use to make a customized download for its patrons. Ideally, I'll use a certain ISBN lookup service if a certain organization takes it live in the near future, and I definitely want to involve Art Rhyno in all of this. I wonder if the Google folks would be interested in collaborating...?
Hopefully Pamela isn't having heart palpitations from reading this!
The next time you're traveling and you're looking for free WiFi, don't forget to check Bill Drew's excellent list of Libraries with Wireless Networks! There are now more than 100 libraries listed, and the number grows each day. (If your library is not listed, contact Bill!)
Part of the larger Wireless Librarian site, this is an excellent resource for those libraries that are considering adding a WiFi network (or even if you're just curious about the topic).
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Spreading the meme:
Why You Should Fall to Your Knees and Worship a Librarian