During the recent observation of Banned Books Week 2016 (September 25-October 1, 2016), I was reminded of the challenges that can face the information we harbor in our libraries.
Rachael Weigmann Author Archive
I work in a small community library outside of Kalamazoo, Michigan. I have tried various types of adult programs to capture the community’s interest: from programs featuring authors, to musicians, poets, ghost hunters, master gardeners and computer classes, we’ve hosted them all. However, the programs that generated the most interest were always those that focused on crafting projects. So, in 2012, I decided to try something new with our adult patrons.
Although I am a “younger” librarian, I do remember learning the tools for researching and writing a paper in high school. In fact, we had to write and research a topic in order to graduate high school. As students we had to compile sources by searching through the card catalog, and then we had to locate the physical books in the stacks. It was by doing this that we learned how to use indexes, how to create a ‘Works Cited’ page, how to sift through information on an assigned topic, and how to use the card catalogs. We did not have to worry about the quality of the research on our desired topics.
In Michigan, if a reference librarian performs their duty of providing a patron with information, it could now be viewed as a criminal act.
The boxes of federal and state tax forms that once crowded our library during tax season may be a “printed” memory. In November, the IRS informed participants that the Tax Forms Outlet Program will be decreasing their quantity of tax instructions, forms, and publications. This reduction is due to the fact that 95 percent of taxpayers E-filed in 2014.
The senior citizen population has been hit the hardest by this tax-form cutback. Some senior citizens are not comfortable with this level of technology, and if the IRS eventually scraps the Tax Forms Outlet Program, how will they file their taxes? Although the number of tax forms has not decreased that exorbitantly, they are only sending out three of the 1040 instructions, and those will be allotted to “reference use.” At our library, we charge patrons after the first five copies, and even a double-sided tax booklet could add up to be $5.