LJWorld.com weblogs New Ideas, New Possibilities
There could be a digital library for every town in Kansas
There could be at least one doctor for every small county, and a digital library for every Kansas town
With the onset of the new medical school in Salina, eventually there could come great change to Kansas rural areas. I will go into the medical school in greater detail in another blog. Most of the United States doesn't know it yet, but this medical school will produce new doctors for central and western Kansas. It's a new and exciting concept.
In addition to doctors, what these smaller towns really need is to be more liveable, especially for teenagers and adults. A lot of people don't know how to use the computer, and many others can't afford one.
But teenagers and adults want the internet and more.
And - they should have them!
There should also be places to meet, and to have coffee or tea.
The digital library solves many of these problems.
The Los Angeles Times yesterday had a major article on universal digital libraries.
Many small towns have buildings that are no longer occupied. These could be refurbished at minimal cost and turned into digital libraries. Digital libraries would also include printed materials, of course,
Additional jobs would be created. The person running the digital library needs to have a good knowledge of computers and content, and to be welcoming to all parts of the population, from teenagers to seniors. A recent Times article also pointed out that Craigslist might prove invaluable for the creation of jobs in a smaller town, if computers were widely available, which they would be if digital libraries were created.
In a smaller town, there might also be a coffeehouse attached to the library, perhaps even a place for healthy food and drink.
Visitors driving from town to town could also stop by the digital library to look for things to see. (Believe it or not, Kansas has many beautiful farmland areas and small towns which are quite beautiful to visit.) If more visitors came through and stayed in small towns, more small inns and beds and breakfasts would open as well.
Kansas would be the first state in the United States to have digital libraries state-wide
It would not take a lot of money to fix up the old buildings. Many persons might want to help volunteer their work in their spare time to help the digital library in their town to become a reality.
In some towns, there might be a special old farmhouse or even a barn which could be made into a digital library.
The main thing is that, once the building is finished, the computers installed, plus print materials, this place is ready for business: jobs, entertainment, news, social-networking.
There is yet another aspect that digital libraries would start to solve: education in small towns.
New horizons in education for smaller towns and counties
The New York Times had this article yesterday:
More and more courses are going on line, many free - everything from the History of Great Britain to how to begin to paint and repair cars.
No longer must a small town have an atmosphere which does not include the wider world.
People who live in larger towns would want to go to small towns for relaxation and quiet. If trails were built between towns, that would be even better. I am not the first to advocate trails from the eastern to the western part of the state.
It could create a whole new atmosphere. To people who say that there is no beauty to farmlands, this is absolutely not true. I repeat from above - there is a lot of beauty all over Kansas.
Oral history would become much more available. I could see people spending weekends in a small town enjoying the quiet and working on their oral history. It is certainly true in other parts of the world.
The City of Parsons, Kansas, for example, has a major oral history project happening:
This could happen in every Kansas town!
A place for gathering, reading, and getting together
A digital library would be a place for many different kinds of things. Even the larger cities in Kansas should take note. For example, Lawrence has shown no interest (at least not on line or in comments to my blog) for branch libraries. I think this is a tragic shame. Instead of putting all the money into one central library, I believe there should be more branch libraries throughout Lawrence. People would not have to go long distances to a branch/digital library. There could be a place for bicycles and scooters to park. Even when the weather is bad, students, parents and seniors could go to the nearest local digital branch - a nicely organized room or rooms - where they could even pay utility bills!
I would be interested in artist's conceptions of small-town digital libraries
If any artists in Lawrence or throughout Kansas are interested in creating their conceptions of what a small branch library could be like, I would like to have them share it here.
This is an idea whose time has come!