Sunday, November 05, 2006

Marilyn Manson: Uncensored

A Saturday morning incident at the reference desk provides a good illustration of how the WPL provides resources unavailable to the typical K-12 student. A mom and her middle-school daughter were collecting resources for a school research paper. Her topic? Marilyn Manson!

As it turned out, the library's only Marilyn Manson title was checked out and they were in too big of a hurry to wait out a hold on the item. So, I took them to a public access computer and pointed the girl at our Ebscohost full-text search and retrieval products. Our young scholar sighed loudly, and said, "we have Ebsco at school and I've already used it. I want to use Google." Her somewhat exasperated mom wanted to why, if she Internet at school, was it necessary to spoil a Saturday morning with a trip to the public library.

The daughter shrugged, and said, "the school filters Google. The library doesn't." The daughter is correct. The WPL does not now, nor has it ever, filtered Internet access. Allocating scarce resources to degrade the performance of our most important research tool makes no sense.

The daughter used Google to find her Marily Manson articles, printed them out and was soon on her way. Like thousands of other WPL patrons, she was able to search for information without concern that someone would arbitrarily limit her access to sources.

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