Schools and Public Libraries

When I was young, public libraries played a huge role in my education. Schools had tiny libraries, barely usable and overwhelmed by numbers of users. We just could not afford to buy a ton of books beyond a few door-to-door encyclopedia, magazines and newspapers. The nearest public libraries were great places to borrow the books we needed and to do serious research. Now, in the Internet Age, libraries must change.

Carolyn Fox: “Public libraries (and public schools) have a critical role to play with improving the dearth of diversity in coding and open source.”

Internet access are today’s books, mail and messaging. It’s time libraries did more than lip-service. If businesses won’t serve the needs of the people, governments and charities should. Any community without widely available and affordable wireless access should at least provide good access in schools and libraries with no quotas. That takes money for hardware and service but they’re not spending as much on dead trees, so…

I suggest schools and libraries use recycled PCs running GNU/Linux. That will cost them little for hardware and software. I did just that for years when I was a teacher and my schools had the most wonderful resources at minimal cost: databases, search engines, filing systems, collaboration suites and all kinds of education utilities just for the cost of downloading. By keeping resources on local servers, our Internet connection did not bog down.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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4 Responses to Schools and Public Libraries

  1. ram says:

    The problem with Linux is there is no one to pay the bribes that the government procurement officials demand.

  2. dougman says:

    Malware / Viruses?? Whats that! Of those thing’s you get on WinDohs every other day.

    I have written plenty with Libreoffice and will continue to do so; just updated to 4.2 and it only took two minutes. M$ Office is for novices anyways, as I use Scrivener for anything past 20+ pages.

  3. lpbbear wrote, “She did mentioned that quite a while back, when they used Windows on the free systems, the IT guys were constantly having to reload them due to malware.”

    Chuckle. All that’s a distant memory for me now in retirement but I remember being horrified to find how bad infections could get. It was often I would find and remove a few instances but ~100 was not unusual. I think my record was close to 1000. Poor things were running flat out to please everyone but the user. Where I last worked hardly a week went by that I didn’t have to reimage one machine or another. Then we switched to GNU/Linux and everything was solid.

  4. lpbbear says:

    The local libraries in my area all feature Linux. They use Linux/Koha for their catalog systems. They also use Linux on the several free public systems used by the patrons. I have watched people using those systems and no one seems to have a problem using them no matter what age they are. The librarian also mentioned their IT department recently moved the office systems to LibreOffice. She groused a bit about it….but she is the griping type anyway. She would likely gripe about most any small change. She did mentioned that quite a while back, when they used Windows on the free systems, the IT guys were constantly having to reload them due to malware.

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