PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.
It's our "other" branch library, the one with no street address.
It's the one without utility bills; well maybe a little electricity.
It's the Library Web Site, our eBranch.
Located at www.steubenville.lib.oh.us it is visited by a quarter million visitors a year, not counting the deeper links within the web page.
There are rotating photographs of our "other" branch libraries around the county, as well as their hours and directions to find them.
Our eBranch is open all the time, whenever your computer is turned on.
Like most library web sites, our most popular feature is the connection to our database showing the library's collection.
Actually, our database is a collection of 5.3 million items contained within 72 libraries around the state, and all items can be requested for local pick-up through the web page.
There is much more on our Library eBranch.
You can connect to "Know It Now! 24 x 7" a statewide online information source available to connect to a reference librarian online.
"Homework Now!" is available in the afternoon and evenings to assist students with homework online.
"Dearreader" is an online Book Club that allows the user to read items within subject categories.
"E-Books" is the link to our shared e-book library, containing over 10,000 electronic books that can be downloaded for three weeks of use on whatever device you own.
Library Services are outlined for the newcomer, with links to library staff in specific departments.
OPLIN OneSearch allows you to connect to the Ohio Public Library Information Network and the wealth of online databases available to Ohio residents.
Our local library system also provides "Gale Ohio Legal Forms," an online library of legal documents that you can download and print at the home or office.
"eResource" on our eBranch connects you to several eGovernment resources, as well as our various Literature resources.
Some will remember the days when you came to the library and used the Readers Guide to Periodical Literature to search indexes for journal and magazine articles.
Reference books were searched for critiques of literature.
Those days are gone; it is all online now, and even available from home.
Tax forms are even available online these days.
So, libraries aren't as busy as they used to be? No, we are busier than ever!
These resources make people aware of what else libraries own. People are aware that libraries still have PEOPLE working, which can assist you, rather than the famous "Contact Us" on the Internet that goes nowhere.
The public is referred to libraries daily for information and forms by state agencies, all of who have reduced staffing levels.
And libraries have computers for the public, as a growing population has no computer to use, or can't afford Internet connectivity or computer upgrades.
As one of our librarians noted, it is a different world. People search the library catalog from home, and stop by the library to pick up what they electronically reserved.
Where is the person sitting in the big chair by the library fireplace?