A lot of people lately have been researching and writing about the human brain.
Much of this research focuses on childhood brain development.
"At birth a baby's brain contains 100 billion neurons, roughly as many nerve cells as there are stars in the Milky Way," according to an article in the February 3, 1997 issue of Time. And according to an article in the March 10, 1997 issue of U.S. News & World Report, "... the brain reaches 80 percent of its full development by a child's first birthday."
I don't remember the name of the story or who wrote it. (This guy is a librarian?) But it was a science fiction yarn about people who could travel in time, all by themselves, without any machinery. This ability was a rare but persistent human mutation, like being born with six fingers on one hand.
Most of these time travelers, when they became adults, eventually went back to the period when they were children. Their purpose was to teach themselves to master their gift at the earliest possible age.
The library has many friends. These friends perform two important functions for us. First, they aid in recruitment. They talk up the library, drag their neighbors along with them, and in general increase our visibility to the community.
Second, they improve the library. Like our library staff, our friends are creative people, with lots of good ideas about new services, or new twists on old ones. Let me give you an example.
I jumped on a slow couple of days to catch up on my professional reading. Because of the way the pile got stacked (pure accident), I ran across two articles, back to back, that said more together than they would have separately.
The first was a piece called "Books, Bytes, and Buildings," published by the Benton Foundation, funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. There were many findings about "the future of [public] libraries in the digital age," based on surveys, phone polls, and focus groups. Here are the two findings I'd like to focus on this week: