The library is still the ultimate resource hands down. Take that, you online diehards. And I am not the only person to say so. This venerable brick and mortar structure that exists in every town houses most everything you need to research a topic; and, yes, you can also go on the Internet in the computer room.
Subjects can range from the practical to the outlandish and everything in between. Just ask the librarian if you don’t know where to go. Don’t be shy. Some people miss the archives room because it is off to the side of the main area; and if people do know about it, they think it is for rare items only. It is a must, however, for patrons of all types. You never know what you will find. Important documents are kept in storage—many withering blissfully with age. It may seem a bit old fashioned, but it is great fun to browse. As with other library assets, things are appropriately arranged and easy to navigate. It is a marvel of organization. Once smitten with the process, you will no doubt want to return.
One visitor recently asked about dehumidifiers of all things. I think he was about to make a purchase and was a bit overwhelmed. Why he thought the library was the fast way to get knowledge, who knows. He was right. We did have some brochures and pamphlets in the archives room in a section devoted to appliances. People often lose their instruction booklets after a period of time. The patron didn’t have to even check these out overnight, although you certainly can. A quick perusal gave him what he needed to know about sizes, prices, operation, and caveats. What is interesting here is that dehumidifiers are used in the archive room itself to protect old documents from light, extreme temperatures, and moisture. He had the devices right under his nose to evaluate first hand.
A dehumidifier is a simple electrical plug-in device that comes in various sizes and sucks out moisture in a given space. It can be regulated as needed. Some sophisticated models that are used in museums and library archive rooms are a little pricey. At home use is often devoted to excess moisture that causes coughing and respiratory discomfort, and people are often looking for the quietest dehumidifier they can find, to make it easier to sleep while it’s running. Dehumidifiers are also helpful in combating certain allergens. Our visitor easily narrowed down his parameters and was able to select a model suitable for his needs. He did become a bit fascinated with the ones interspersed throughout the archive room, which is not surprising.
While he asked questions, we were only able to point him in the direction of resource material. We are not consultants on products! We did, of course, employ dehumidifiers for storage areas and protective purposes; but that was where we drew the line. Someone technical no doubt selected and installed them for our particular job. Librarians and staff are on hand to direct research efforts and let patrons know of little known facts. They are worth their weight in gold. If you are stuck online and not finding what you want, the library is the best place to go.