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From the Anchorage Daily News, by Elise Patkotak:
There are great differences between the library of my past and the libraries of the present and future. Some of those differences are simply mindboggling. For instance, in my day a library card meant I could go to a room with a stack of books, choose which I wanted to read and have the books stamped by a nice lady at the desk. Then I got to walk out of the building with my arms full of treasure. Now, a library card means you can sit in the comfort of your own home and download e-books that you can keep for about three weeks before they "return" to the library shelf. How cool is that?
Equally important, perhaps, in a time when we are more and more isolating ourselves from our family and friends through use of electronic media, the library remains a place of vibrant community where ideas can be accessed and shared, discussions held and knowledge gained whether you are rich or poor. It is the ultimate democratizing institution available to everyone in this country.
Today's reality is that if you can't afford a computer, you are at a distinct disadvantage in a very competitive world. Go to the library and find free computer access to anyone with a library card. And that card is also, as always, free. In a world where having information at your fingertips is more critical than ever to succeeding, the library is the one place anyone can go to level the playing field.