The PEW Research Group has just released some new survey findings as part of their Pew Internet & American Life Project that show that public libraries are key places people go to use the Internet for free. Of course those of us who have worked in public libraries for a while know that well! When I first started working at the old Corning Public Library in 1984 patrons coming in would not have found a computer in sight! By 1987 though the library had a digital “card” catalog that allowed patrons to search for books that were available both in our library and in all the other member libraries of the Southern Tier Library System. And by the late nineteen eighties the library also had an internal DOS like email system, portable CD players for patrons to use in the library, CDs and video cassettes for patrons to check and a number of Macs for staff use.

And since the library re-opened as the Southeast Steuben County Library in 2000 we have added new tech offers for patrons which include Internet connected computers, Wi-Fi and tech usage assistance from staff – all for free – and patrons have shown they loves these new services.

Where else can you go to use the Internet for free, to scan documents, photos or slides for free, to ask for staff assistance in putting e-books on your new e-reader or tablet – or in checking out library e-books all for free?

And one of our most popular services today is indeed free tech assistance.

And you might well wonder what I mean by that…

And what I mean is patrons can call the library and make an appointment to sit down with a member of the library’s tech staff and go over any tech usage questions they might have. So if you wonder how to use your new Windows 8 laptop, your new Kindle, Nook, iPad or Mac, how to create a resume using Microsoft Word, how to fill out a job application online or set up a free email account you have access to assistance for free! Just call us at: 607-936-3713 ext. 502 to make an appointment.

And today our new digital offerings, all of which can be accessible through the library’s website 24/7/365, include credible news, research, health and art databases*, e-books, e-audio books and a growing number of music titles and videos accessed via the STLS Digital Catalog link on the library’s homepage.

The library’s home page is found at:

You can access the STLS Digital Catalog (the place where you can find e-books, e-audio books, digital music and video titles online) by either going to our homepage and clicking on the STLS Digital Catalog link or clicking on the following link:

 The New York Times article that offers a brief overview of the new PEW survey results is titled Pew Survey Finds Reliance On Libraries For Computers and Internet and may be accessed via the following link:

And PEW offers a more in-depth explanation in an article on their website that has a really long title: Library Services in the Digital Age

Patrons embrace new technologies – and would welcome more. But many still want printed books to hold their central place:

Have a great day! (or evening depending upon when you take a look at the library tech blog or Facebook page)

Linda R.


Kaufman, Leslie. (2013, January 22). Survey Finds Rising Reliance on Libraries as a Gateway to the Web. New York Times Bits Blog. Online.

Zickuhr, Kathryn., Rainie, Lee., Purcell, Kristin. (2013, January 22). Library Services in the Digital Age: Patrons embrace new technologies – and would welcome more. But many still want printed books to hold their central place. PEW Internet. Online.

*And very shortly we will add the Mango Languages database too so if you’d like to learn a new language that will be the database for you!

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