The Nelson Library is much more than books.

Finding the right answer at the Nelson Library

Computers may not have all the answers, but they can help.

Deep Thought, the city-sized computer in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, stated with complete confidence that “The Answer to the Great Question… Of Life, the Universe, and Everything… Is…

“Forty-two.”

Computers may not have all the answers, but they can help. Whether it’s helping backpackers look for a campsite or residents look for a backpack, library computers offer a galaxy of opportunities to anyone wishing to hitch a ride on the World Wide Web.

It’s true that public computer users may not find the answer to life, the universe and everything online, but staying connected to friends and family via email and Facebook, researching your next trip through our travel databases, or booking your plane tickets — it’s cyber-travel made easy on the library’s computers.

Our public computer stations are used more than 2,300 times each month, and our early literacy stations for kids exceed 1,000 uses monthly. Add to that heavy usage the speed-of-light way that the Computer Universe expands, and you’ll see that — where upgrades are concerned — rocket-boosters may be necessary.

Directors of Areas E, F, and H as well as the City of Nelson have signed on as the Nelson Public Library’s newest (and welcome!) rocket-boosters. They have all contributed to new computer equipment at the library, the better to surf the stars.

Coming soon, the new six-station computer lab will make connectivity and answer-finding much smoother. That’s good, because to be fair, “Forty-two” doesn’t entirely answer the burning questions we all have here on Earth. Why is our primary computer screen navigational tool a rodent, for example.

Thanks to the deep thought and futuristic planning of our area directors and Nelson city council, we are also replacing the new early literacy stations with two flashy iPads loaded with great kidstuff and ready to help build preschool literacy, numeracy, and motor skills. Important for those smaller space travelers who want to become the next Chris Hadfield.

As well, our new wifi system for folks who bring their own cyber-surfboards will make things work just a little faster now that you can log in with your library card and personal password.

Genealogists and history buffs who prefer to travel back in time will be happy to know that we’re in the process of sourcing a new microfilm reader-printer. Because as any historian and space-traveller will tell you, you can’t navigate the future without understanding the past.

It took Deep Thought seven and a half million years to come up with “forty-two,” stating that he “checked it very thoroughly, and that quite definitely is the answer. I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you’ve never actually known what the question was.”

So for all those people who come up to us at the circulation desk and say:

“I’m looking for a book; I’m not sure what it’s about exactly, but I heard something on CBC and my friend told me the cover is red. Do you have it?”

The answer — well, you guessed it.

 

Anne DeGrace is the adult services coordinator at the Nelson Public Library. Her column runs every other week in the Star.