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I was busy Saturday, so my wife went to the hardware store for me. She was going to get this special wrench I needed but couldn\'t name, so I described it for her. She went to one of those mega stores, you know, a Barnes and Noble for tools. She came back and said, they didn\'t have the wrench I wanted- or at least the kid who tried to help didn\'t think so. She guessed that I would have to go to a REAL HARDWARE STORE. Unfortunately the REAL Hardware Store in our neighborhood closed down and the only other one in town is all the way across town.
A real hardware store has more than just tools and hardware, of course. It is a source of expertise and advice on all those household projects that we weekend warriors attempt. They don\'t have unknowledgeble clerks with Metallica t-shirts that know more about MP-3s than socket sets. They have people who can help you with getting that plumbing project right or finding the right size carriage bolt. That type of hardware store seems to be quickly fading as the mega stores take over and few will mind when they get amazonned, I would guess.
When I lived in Minnesota, I used to go to the local hardware store just to shoot the breeze. I was happy to pay more because the owner was so friendly and knowledgeable. If you are ever in St. James, MN, go to the Coast to Coast store and see for yourself. A map is at:
423 1st Ave S St James, MN (507) 375-4151 Sorry, no URL, I guess they are too busy serving people!
As with hardware, so with libraries? Perhaps. Will I be able to keep going to a real library, where real people with real experience can help? Please God, make it so.
Its not just the books and information, its the people helping people that make a library. The net is important and work it we must, but if its all virtual, well, it will be a very wrenching experience.
Posted on PubLib listserv as well.
Thomas J. Hennen Jr.
6014 Spring Street
Voice: 262-886-1625 Fax: 262-886-5424