I was talking the other day with an economic development executive. A self-described Internet junkie, he wanted to know how the 'net was changing the profile of library use.
I told him a little bit about the study I reported on earlier this year: the more Internet stations we add, the more business we get everywhere else, too. But then I got curious about proportions. How do the uses of the public library compare to each other?
A young friend of mine recently moved to California. She's been sending back thoughtful and astute observations about the public library she works for out there.
Not surprisingly, that library is different from ours in ways both large and small. For instance, we are an independent library district -- the only kind of public library that is directly accountable, not to some other governmental entity with its own concerns (such as a county or city), but directly to the people it serves. My friend's library is within a city with lots of its own problems.
I'll lay my cards on the table. A man has to make choices in his life. He can't be knowledgeable about everything, even if he works at a library and reads a lot.
Weighing my choices, then, I made a radical life choice, and I've stuck with it.
I am a sports illiterate.
I mean it. I have never watched an entire baseball game or basketball game or football game on television in my entire life. I've been to a couple of live basketball games, but that was back in junior high school.
It's a marvel to most adults that we made it this far. At least, I know some of the chances I took as a young adult might well have killed me.
The field of brain development research continues to shed light on all facets of human life. And what we've learned, at least about teenagers, borders on the insulting. Or does it?
In brief, it comes down to this: teenagers have a high predilection for risky business, coupled with a really startling lack of judgment.