Friday, July 31, 2009

Reunion with an old friend with a new look

A few months ago I renewed my library card at the Jackson County Medford Library and renewed an old friendship that dates from my first days living in Medford some 35 years ago. When I first moved to Medford, as a young attorney straight out of the University of Oregon School of Law, in Eugene, I started regularly going to the old Carnegie Library given to the people of Medford in 1911.It was located between my law office and the Courthouse. In those days there was no Internet so on my way back to my office from the Courthouse and Justice Building I would stop and read the out of town newspapers . I kept up on the Oregon Ducks by reading the Eugene Register Guard and would keep up on politics by reading Time, National Review, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. I would also check out books on history and biographys. With the advent of the Internet and the opening of Barnes & Noble in Medford my stops became less frequent. Then in 2004 they build a new library downtown and it was no longer on my way back from the Justice building or the Courthouse. I walked the seven or so blocks to the new library during my lunch hour a few times, to view the new building, but never checked anything out. Also the Library is not open on Sunday one of my few free days so I would drive by on my way home but would not stop.

All of that changed a few months ago when my wife suggested we stop by on a Saturday afternoon and check out a book or two. We first found out that our old cards had expired and got new ones. I also found out this was not the library I remembered. Things other than a new building had been added.

First, was the "card catalog" had been replaced with computers that were available on the Internet. Now, they had computers before they moved the library in 2004 but I still enjoyed the old card catalog I had used when I was in school. I quickly learned you could search the library and it's many branches here in Jackson County from the comfort of home or office via the Internet. Better yet, you could request a book , CD or DVD be put on reserve. If it were checked out to someone else you could put a hold on it. No longer would I go to the library and take potluck. They notify me by email when the item is available and I go to a special section of the library and pick it up "self serve" under "W" for Wickre. Some items are available right away. When I requested Bill O'Reill's book, "Bold Fresh Piece of Humanit," I was 35 of 35 on the list. Each few days I would check back online as I moved up the list until I got an email telling me it was ready for me to pick up. In the "old days" I would have given up and bought it at Barnes & Noble or Costco.I just found and read a John Wayne Biography by his daughter Aissa. Probably the only biography on the Duke I had not read.I also found an read a biography on Merian Cooper the producer of several John Wayne /John Ford movies including "The Searchers"

Second, the library now has a great selection of CD music. I still remember when they only had a few scratched records!

Third, the library now has a good select of DVD movies and documentaries. I just got done watching the 6 hours of "Liberty - The American Revolution" (1997) that was originally broadcast on PBS. This weekend, I will beat the heat in my basement movie room, watching the 14 hour mini series "Horatio Hornblower" based upon C.S. Forester's novel of British naval warfare during the Napoleonic Wars. I also found several movies that are also on my Netflix Queue which I can check out from the library for free to supplement what I get from Netflix.

Fourth, they have "self serve" computer check out. No more waiting in line for a sometime snooty clerk.

Fifth, they now have something new which I don't like. "Rent a cop" at the door! However, I guess it is a sign of the times and is necessary but I still don't like it.

Finally, the library is in a beautiful building which if fun to "poke around" in on a hot Saturday afternoon or lunch hour .