It has been my sincere pleasure to work with many board members, volunteers, staff, and patrons during my years at Sedona Public Library—from January 1979 to August 1985 at the Jordan Road Library, and from the time I returned to Sedona in June 2009 and became director at the White Bear Road Library—where I’m happily taking part in the Library’s 60th anniversary year celebration.
We buried a time capsule last week, to be opened in the year 2058. As we reflect on where we will be 40 years from now, when the Library celebrates its 100th anniversary, I can’t help but reflect on where we were 40 years ago.
In 1978 the Library was only 5,000 square feet and had no meeting rooms. Today’s building is five times that size and has two meeting spaces—the Si Birch Community Room and the Quiet Study. In 40 years I hope that our beautiful library is still a gathering place for the community, for the many programs that bring us together.
Forty years ago Sedona Public Library had a collection of books, magazines, and newspapers printed on paper. That was it! No audio books. No movies. No computers.
Over the years, full-length audio books were introduced—first on cassette and then on compact disc. Now we listen to books on our computers and other digital devices, including our smart phones. I can’t imagine life without audio books. They entertain and inform, and soothe my way into slumber. How will we be listening in 2058?
If you wanted to watch a movie in 1978 you went to the theatre. VHS technology was in its infancy and it was still a new concept to think about watching a full-length movie in your own home.
Mainframe computers were still standard, with personal computers just starting to be available. Sedona Library’s first computer was introduced in 1979: a TRS-80 microcomputer (courtesy of the local Radio Shack), with a cassette recorder as a peripheral device. Patrons learned to write simple programs on the computer.
Fast forward to 2018 and we’re listening to books and podcasts on our computers and digital devices; we’re reading books, magazines, and newspapers online; we’re watching movies and television shows in totally new ways. It’s hard to even imagine how people will access books in the year 2058, when Sedona Public Library turns 100!
Computers with internet access have allowed us to find answers to questions faster than ever before. No matter where we find our answers, libraries are still in the information business. Helping customers find what they’re looking for is one of the highlights of being a librarian, and you can often find me behind the Reference Desk looking up an answer on the computer or walking the aisles in search of the right book. We offer service on an individual basis for all who walk through the doors of the Library.
We’re also in the education business. We help people learn how to find answers for themselves online and to operate the devices to get them online.
I predict that in 2058 Sedona Public Library will still offer service to all who walk through the doors and that all individuals will continue to find a friendly face and helping hand for whatever questions they might have. No matter what format, no matter what new technology comes our way, librarians will be right there to help introduce it and navigate through the learning process.
Technology will change, but what won’t change is the need for a place to explore and exchange ideas, a place to meet up with your neighbors, and a place for lifelong learning. That will be Sedona Public Library, now and in 2058.
Sedona Public Library is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Please support your library at www.sedonalibrary.org.
Library News appears each Friday in the Red Rock News.