Inquiring Minds at the Library
Tuesday, August 22, 2006; Page A14

What Yahoo Inc. Vice President Eckart Walther refers to as the "next generation of search" techniques ["Web Searches Go Low-Tech: You Ask, a Person Answers," front page, Aug. 16] has been alive and well in our nation's libraries for more than a century. Reference librarians in our public and academic libraries answer nearly 8 million questions every week in person, on the phone, and online via e-mail, instant messaging, wikis and other technologies.

In fact, the number of times I hear "I tried to find this on the Internet, but . . ." increases every year. People can easily receive a million results on a Web search, yet librarians are the ones who can tailor a search to locate the best, most authoritative and most specific resources.

Nationwide, about 70 percent of higher education institutions have developed information literacy instruction to help students understand how to find and evaluate information online and in print.

Information-literate people know how to find accurate, quality information that will help them through family, medical or job crises.

Librarians provide more than facts. We provide the expertise and services that add meaning to those facts.



American Library Association