News Flash! Google Fiber Application to be Submitted Live at 6:10 PM at Natty Greene’s!

City to SUBMIT Google Fiber Application LIVE during Celebration Event

WHO:  The City of Greensboro and supporters of the Google Fiber Initiative

WHAT:  The City of Greensboro to Submit Google Application at Final Mobile Tour Stop

Over the last few weeks, the City of Greensboro has made several stops at high-traffic areas to increase awareness and drive residents to nominate Greensboro for Google’s ultra-high speed Internet connection.  In a final push to draw support for the Google Fiber initiative, the City of Greensboro has scheduled a final mobile tour stop at Natty Greene’s Pub & Brewing Co.

At 6:10 p.m., as supporters look on, Councilmember Danny Thompson will hit “SEND” and submit Greensboro’s formal community Google Fiber application live from Natty Greene’s.

Laptops will also be available for the public to submit nominations for Greensboro.  Individual resident nominations will be accepted until 8 p.m. The first 30 to nominate the Gate City will receive a Google Fiber T-Shirt (while supplies last).

WHEN:  Friday, March 26, 2010.  Mobile Tour Stop will be open from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.  Formal application will be submitted live at 6:10 p.m.

WHERE:  The second level (upstairs) at Natty Greene’s Pub & Brewing Co., 345 S. Elm St.

WHY:  Google is planning to launch its fiber-optic system in one or more trial locations across the country.  Google Fiber will be an ultra high-speed broadband network — 100 times faster than what most Americans have today.

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Wiki for Community Input on the Google Fiber Application

Just to let interested folks know, a draft of the narrative sections of Greensboro’s Google Fiber Application or Request for Information (RFI) has just been posted on-line in a wiki.

Each of the four sections were broken up into shorter paragraphs in the last draft I saw — not sure why those weren’t preserved here.  But the information is at least there.   

Just follow this link to the wiki.  Feel free to add your own ideas. 

Remember, wikis are collaborative, so anybody can add-to, edit and/or modify the document.

R.I.P. Libraries?

The Good Old Days at Greensboro Public

The Good Old Days at Greensboro Public

As a librarian and a book collector, I suppose I should be concerned about this article from CNN entitled, “The Future of Libraries With or Without Books.”

Libraries are changing — and changing dramatically.  And I agree that books are on their way out — or at least they will not be as important for the libraries of the future as they once were. 

But I would lay emphasis on two points which are not really made in the CNN article.

First, I think modern libraries will continue to play a very important role in providing services to society’s information have-nots.

It is true that as virtually every conceivable type of information gradually becomes available in some type of digital format, folks who can afford their own computers will depend less and less on libraries. 

However, those who don’t have computers find themselves at a tremendous disadvantage.  For example, just try to find or apply for a job these days if you don’t have access to the internet. 

That’s where libraries come in.  We’re the social safety net for these information have-nots; in my opinion, this is an essential part of the mission of public libraries — now, and in the foreseeable future.  

And this is why adequate funding for public libraries remains important.  Society must embrace the idea that we have a social responsibility to provide our information have-nots with access to information — just as, for example, we provide medical care to the indigent.  

Secondly, librarians need to be more than just hip computer geeks with a Facebook page or a familiarity with Twitter — I think the article placed far too much emphasis here.  

Many library environments are very challenging.  Patrons in libraries may have special needs, such as a physical handicap or mental illness.  They also frequently lack the information literacy skills necessary to obtain the information they need.  And, as libraries morph further into social gathering places, librarians must also ensure that their facilities afford a safe and welcoming environment for patrons.

The truth is, that on any given day at a busy inner city library — such as Greensboro’s Central Library — a librarian will wear many hats — and may in a matter of moments find himself or herself transitioning from counselor to teacher to conflict mediator.  Above all, and I think in keeping with the social responsibility ethic which forms the foundation of our mission, librarians simply need to enjoy helping people.

But, anyway, yes, libraries are changing.