Library changes are signs of the times

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 1, 2008

As I walked into Helena&8217;s Jane B. Holmes Public Library, I was taken aback by what I saw.

Before my eyes were stacks of music CDs and rows of DVDs, just waiting to be checked out and enjoyed. Once I got past the electronic media, the books waited in the background.

That&8217;s a far cry from the libraries of my nerdy youth, where I would hang out after school while waiting for my mother.

At my hometown library, the closest anyone got to CDs were audio recordings of books. (I haven&8217;t been there in years, so I&8217;m sure it&8217;s much more technologically advanced now.)

I spent a lot of time wandering down the aisles of books, finding new authors to read and chairs to curl up in.

I&8217;m not used to the concept of libraries as media centers, so seeing Bruce Willis&8217; face on the cover of &8220;Live Free and Die Hard&8221; on the library shelf was a bit disconcerting.

Of course, that doesn&8217;t make it a bad idea. Eventually, libraries were bound to branch out.

As Library Director Victoria Ashford said, music and movies are what people are looking for, so that&8217;s what libraries have. That&8217;s what they have to do in order to survive, and that&8217;s fine. Maybe those kids that come in for the movies will stay for the books. Maybe.

Anything that keeps libraries running is great as far as I&8217;m concerned.

But I kind of miss the times when libraries were just for books, and it wasn&8217;t necessary to have a CD player or a home theater system to be entertained.

I&8217;m probably one of the only people out there that feel this way. Most people my age are creatures of the digital revolution. My fianc/ definitely doesn&8217;t agree with me on this one, especially since he&8217;s all about Bruce Willis.

Still, there isn&8217;t much that&8217;s more satisfying than checking out as many books as you can at one time-and then bringing them all back before the due date just to check out more.