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Headed Downtown for a Wealth of Reliable Resources

In an age of Wikipedia, Twitter feeds and eBooks, it may seem that all information can be found online. For Charlotte, a tech savvy 14-year old, a trip to the Central Library showed her that there is quite a bit to be learned from an 1863 Sanitation Commission report and 150 year-old Civil War diaries, resources unavailable on the Internet.

Charlotte, a Lewis Middle School eighth grader, recently was assigned a Civil War project. With a strong interest in medicine, she decided to research field hospitals during the war. Charlotte’s first stop at her school library produced general information, but nothing specific to field hospitals. An online search turned up some information, but from dubious sources. Charlotte turned to the Allied Gardens/Benjamin Branch Library, where she and her family go for their reading needs.

“I was using the computer to find library books on field hospitals, and I found so much information, but it was all located at the Central Library,” recalls Charlotte. “I had never been there before, but my mom and I decided to go and see what we could find to help me with the assignment.”

Upon entering the Central Library, Charlotte was pointed to the reference desk, where a team was able to find her books, encyclopedias and reference materials pertaining specific to her topic. In addition, Central Library staff members produced several original source documents, including personal diaries and an 1863 U.S. Sanitation Commission report, from the Library’s basement archives.

“At first, the Central Library was a little overwhelming – it was so big!” says Charlotte. “But everybody was so helpful and there were so many wonderful resources. More than I had ever imagined!”

Charlotte left the Central Library that day with her arms full of books and received an “A” on her report and project. Her teacher praised the exactness and thoroughness of her work. “So many people have never been to the Central Library, but it is so great for students like me,” says Charlotte.

I will go back as soon as I have my next big school assignment.— Charlotte