Submitted by Jeff Buster on Sat, 01/10/2009 - 15:42.


The book lockers in the photo above are an example of simple technology on which tax money ought to be spent.   These book lockers are also an example of how, in very simple ways, a local government can dramatically influence a community's sense of self-worth.


The Cleveland Heights  - University Heights Library has the first outside book pick-up lockers which I have seen – though CH-UH is not the first in Ohio to install these  24 hour access lockers (manufactured by American Locker).   New libraries in Columbiana and Springfield have similar outside pick-up lockers. 


To open the lockers you can either use your library card number or a code which is transmitted to you when the library fills your book order and lets you know  the book is ready for pick-up.


Contrast this technology – which is entirely supportive of the needs of the citizens in the community – with the money which the City of Cleveland and the City of East Cleveland and a number of other communities spend on red-light and speed trap camera technology. 


As a number of realneo users  have pointed out recently in discussions on Realneo about cars being towed, the speed trap technology is basically a way for a government to consume/eat its own people to generate revenue to support the governmental bureaucracy.


The political decision to invest in technology to trap/track your citizens or,  in contrast, to invest in technology to accommodate and educate your citizens  - I believe leads to the development of dramatically different attitudes in the citizenry.


 Cleveland and East Cleveland city councils have decided to spend money on technology which enables those cities to supplement their budgets by punishing their citizens with fines, while CH-UH city councils have decided to spend money to improve services for their citizens.


I realize that this is a bit of an oversimplification because  I have compared only speed cameras with book lockers.   Nonetheless, wouldn’t you agree that the difference in feeling (that you get down the back of your neck) when you pass a speed camera or pass this book pick-up locker does fairly represent a critical civic difference between CH-UH and Cleveland/East Cleveland?


It does for me.

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Good Technology=Happy Citizens

  What a great idea!  And, it would have come in handy today.  A patron called in the morning for books on constitutional law.  She was scheduled to come in the library in the afternoon.  We are now closed due to the snow.  I had no way of providing for this patron.  Sad :(  This is a happy citizen solution.  I love it.

Self worth and libraries

  Is a topic worth further discussion.  So many residents act like it is a disgrace for them to have to resort to the library.  They have to realize it is not a place of last resort, but your first resort to understanding and interacting with your community.

I don't know about anybody

I don't know about anybody else but the library is one of the most wonderful places in the world.  I remember the first time I was actually in a library - I was so in awe that I can even remember what I was wearing - and the books - and even the smell - I came from the hills and my elementary school years was in a two room school with 1-3 in what was known as the little room and 4-6 in the big room - the only library was a few books on a shelf in the corner - and there was so much talk about all the things that that we would be exposed to when we got to go to the big school - which we had to be bussed to - 7-12 - we heard so much talk about the library.  I was there several days before we actually got to take a trip to the big room full of books but boy when we did - I remember just looking around - by todays standards - it was nothing grand - but back then - it was something else.  The books were all so neatly lined from top to bottom - and so many shelves - and  I thought more subjects that I would ever cover. 

The librarian, whom I still remember to this day, Ms. Keene, sternly gave us a lecture on the process of checking books out and in and then took us to the 7th grade section where I chose my first book from the library which was "On the Banks of Plum Creek" by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I've been hooked since.  I read every book that she wrote that I could find that year and as silly as it sounds - because of the attachment to those books I still watch Little House on the Pararie -

Today's libraries, as wonderful as they are, are nothing like the old libraries, there was something that made you want to reach out and feel those books, open one up and get lost in the world between the pages, and sometimes you didn't want to come out - I used to sneak up under the floor of our house and read because that was the only quiet, private place I could find - also, I could listen for footsteps overhead and if I heard anyone coming, I could hide my book .

Ms. Easton in my library

Powerful recollections jerleen1.   brought me right back to being 5.  keep copies of all these hill town posts, they're a wonderful book in the making...

Thanks Jerleen

  Libraries are much more complex places today.  But, still we find ways to interact in a positive way.  The computers are a catch-22.  I have a love/hate relationship with the machine.  More later...

I had two strange interactions this past week with physicians*...just a sense of rushing to get in and out of the library without having to be acknowleged by their patients.  Maybe, I am being unfair....but, I don't think so.  There is such a class issue going on in Cleveland.

*I am guessing here...but the scrubs/Metro IDs...

Well, I'm gettin' there. 

Well, I'm gettin' there.  When I went to school, an electric typewriter and an electric calculator  was the only technology we had to worry about - and our old dial up telephones still worked on a party line.  S..t, we still had the JO6-type of exchange.  And if you called anybody - you called everybody. 

But I'm slowly catching on to the computer age.  Best way to do that is to get  one and just sit down and figure it out.  Thing is just about the time I figure out one piece of technology, they come out with a whole new load of stuff and I got to start all over.  It's not like back in the day when they come out with something new and you had a year  or two to catch up - shucks now you are lucky if you have a week or two - then you gotta move on or you're outta date.  They even make sewing machines that talk back now. 

I guess we'll be alright - At least, we have something to blame it on now, it's the machine's fault.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Laura Ingalls Wilder kept me from dinner

That was a lovely memory... I, too, had my first wave of love with books reading Laura Ingalls Wilder. My mother could not get me to the dinner table. I read them all one right after another. I wonder how many young girls read through them as we did.

I read them to my son, too, and then we read all of The Chronicles of Narnia and a The Secret Garden and many many more as I revisted and rediscovered with him the pleasure of reading.  That moment when books take hold of a young reader is a very special moment - first a spark and suddenly a wildfire.

Clearly language became important for you: You write so articulately and your images are palpable. Thanks for sharing this.