Nancy Watts, Historian
Lewistown, Montana. View of 6th Avenue starting at the corner of Washington and looking towards the other end of 6th Avenue South. On the right is the Broadway Apt then the 2nd Lincoln School and on the end is the High School. Photo05558, Lewistown Public Library. For more historical photographs go to http://montanamemory.org/contributors/LewistownPublicLibrary
Summer Reading Program
It is hard to believe it but this is the final week of your Summer Reading Program. We will have a fun night at “Reading in the Park” this Thursday from 5-6 p.m. See you at Frank Day Park.
Does the “Li” in Library Stand for Lie? By LaVonne Limpus-Jurack Circulations Manager, Nonfiction Librarian
I recently came across a photo from a library whose sign read, “Libraries, because not everything you read on the internet is true.” I found myself pausing to understand this because anyone who knows me here knows that I am a “Googler”. The truth remains that anything in writing has the potential to be fact or fiction, whether it is in a book or on the internet. And so, I was slightly saddened to realize the sign held for me, little irony and almost no truth.
Information in our library comes in many medias; text, audio, video, internet and probably other ways I am not thinking of. Oh, like microfilm. I am thinking that Fiction is the only area that truly is what it says it is- something that someone made up.
So what is literary truth? I find myself in a metaphysical dilemma. I asked a couple of patrons who were milling around the nonfiction section what they think when they read the quote and I get some surprising answers. Thomas Robinson said, and I am paraphrasing here, “People who know the Dewey Decimal system will have a better understanding of how nonfiction and fiction interrelate. Those with Dewey Decimal knowledge will understand that the nonfiction books are a compilation of information far surpassing that which can be found on the internet, at least in one place.” By this I think he means that one author spent a lot of research time compiling the information that makes them a “specialist” on that topic.
Meanwhile I ask patron number two who turns out to be “Mrs. Robinson” or Carissa. Carissa says, and I am more near a quote with her I believe, “If you look online you will see that information is more reliable if the site is followed by edu, gov, or org.” To this I respond, “But how do we know it is right? Truthful?” a few moments pass between us as we think on it. At the end of our brief conversation the three of us walk away with a feeling that perhaps truth is not the wiki definition but a more nebulous thing. However now, I feel certain that the quote is true. “Libraries, because not everything is true on the internet” is thought provoking. What I think, after I think about it, discuss it with some smart cookies and realize this is getting long, is the information in a library is as truthful and accurate as it is within that time frame-when information changes so do the books that represent that information but so does it also change on the internet. However that is not a problem any longer as we live in a digital age and we offer internet for free to our patrons-they get the best of both worlds. I finally see the problem and the solution; if only the internet came with the fiction, nonfiction branding! How would that change how we think about our world?
Now here is the part that bothering me now, aren’t the majority of these books found on the internet? I digress.