Monday, April 17, 2017

The Infinite Library

I love libraries large and small.  Tiny rural libraries as well as marble-fronted university libraries.  Since I grew up in a place and time without library access, I have a deep love a appreciation for physical libraries.   

As a researcher, I’ve had the rare privilege to use amazing libraries such as the Fred. W. Smith Library for the Study of George Washington, Harvard University, Boston Athenaeum, and Columbia University.  Nothing can take the place of actually seeing historic documents.  But research trips cost a lot of money so it isn’t always possible to travel to do library research.  Publishers do not pay the expenses for authors as they travel to do research--Gasp!  That might come as a surprise for new authors at the beginning of their careers.  Nope. You are on your own, kiddies.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t access the information you need.  Fortunately today, great libraries have made research possible by putting primary source documents online.   It is truly amazing the types of primary sources you can access from your computer, anytime and anywhere.   In a matter of seconds, while sitting on my porch, I can access documents such as the patent for the Wright brothers’ plane, or letters written by George Washington, and see actual footage of the D Day landing.  I love it! 

With so many primary source documents online today, you can do first class research from anywhere!
Today via the Internet we have access to unlimited information.  What do you want to find out?

Carla Killough McClafferty

1 comment:

Esther Hershenhorn said...

Thanks for reminding us how lucky we are our libraries are online, Carla!
And not just for research - though that's quite the treat.
I love reserving books online at my Chicago Public Library, then trotting down the street to my small library to pick them up!