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August 24th, 2009 by Temple City Tribune
While the library may not always be open, its resources are now available any time, from the comfort of one’s own home.
At a meeting of the city’s Chamber of Commerce on August 10, the Temple City Public Library staff gave a presentation on the many resources available through the website, with a focus on some of the information databases and services available to anyone with a library card.
One of the more popular databases has been the health website, which offers recent articles from health magazines, as well as fact sheets on different conditions and medications featured in different languages, said Susan Schlaeger, community library manager of the Temple City branch.
“They’re available in a highly understandable, readable form,” said Schlaeger. “There are also images and diagrams that are good for school reports.”
The site also includes videos of medical operations to show what they entail, which can be used by patients to learn more about upcoming procedures or by students for research purposes.
Another useful feature on the site is the business reference database, which pulls data from public information sources on businesses or individuals, she said. The database not only provides information about the business itself, such as historical background and stock data, but also facts about similar businesses and local competitors.
This can be useful information for someone interested in starting up a new business in a particular area, Schlaeger said.
The site’s databases are reviewed annually to see which ones will be continued. The county pays for annual subscriptions based on the number of registered borrowers.
One of the more popular sections of the site has been the Live Homework Help, where students can have live tutoring sessions from afternoon to midnight, she said.
An article-finder is also available for students to use for research, said Teen Librarian Josh Irwin, who conducts annual presentations of the site’s resources at Temple City High School.
According to Irwin, students are most impressed by the fact that they do not have to go to the library to get research from reputable sources, and can access them any time of day.
“The fight right now is to get teachers to understand that these articles are in print somewhere,” Irwin said. “It’s something (students) can use as a valid source, and it’s becoming more important as digital versions are going to be the only ones available.”
Library users can also download digital books or audio books on to their computer for free with a library card and PIN number, as long as a computer and internet access is available.
Though the website has not reduced the amount of staff at the Temple City branch, Schlaeger says it has made people more likely to go online rather than come in and check out books.
“The information is more up to date,” she said. “Online books are updated annually, so you don’t have to buy it every year. It matters particularly in areas where currency is important.”
Other services include renewing or requesting books, reserving internet time at the library, or checking on borrowed or requested books. Government and legal forms are also available on-line.
Schlaeger said there has been positive feedback from people who use the site from home or home offices.
According to some library patrons, the web site is easy to use and more convenient.
“It’s really good,” said 10-year-old Gentle, a Temple City resident who visits the library often with his siblings during the summer. “It gives you more time to do other things.”
Other patrons said they were not aware of the site, or did not need it.
According to Schlaeger, the only problem is that the system occasionally runs into technical problems.
“The system is interconnected to the whole county, so if something happens at headquarters, it all goes down,” she said.
However, there have been no major problems, both library staff and patrons report.
by Sameea Kamal