Charge me up


As a library administrator, I’m always looking at “trends.” What’s popular, what’s the latest and the greatest, and how does it relate to libraries? I think I’ve said — probably several times — that James Patterson is THE GUY; the author that everyone wants to read. Well, he did write 54 books in 2017.

But I’m also interested in technology trends. People are always asking me, Do you think libraries will disappear? Will people stop reading books because of ebooks? My answer is usually, we have elevators but people still use the stairs …

In order to stay current and to know what’s “trending,” I receive emails from the Pew Research Center. They send out surveys and stuff and report back and I, and librarians like me, try to figure out how libraries can use this info. Recently, I received this fact: An overwhelming 95 percent of teens have access to a smartphone, and 45 percent say they are online “almost constantly.” A teen is defined as age 13 to 17 years old. This is ubiquitous and not dependent on household income levels or race, as you may think, according to the research in the article Teens, Social Media & Technology dated May 31, 2018.

That being said, who carries their chargers with them? I don’t. I have a smartphone because I gave up my landline last year. Twice now, I’ve gone to work and my phone has been at 15 percent power. I’m not the only one who does this! We’ve had many library patrons, adults and teens, who have come to the front desk and asked for a charger to charge up their smartphone or other device.

Now we help with that. If you are at the Mifflin County Library and realize that your phone is dying, we have this thing called an Omnicharge. It’s a little battery pack and it comes with a charging cord for any Apple device and some Android devices. You can look for books while you are charging your phone or you can enjoy story time with your kids and still text while your phone charges.

This is how it works: you ask for it at the front desk, we check it out to you on your library card, and you go. You have to stay inside the library with it (because we want everyone to enjoy it) but when you are charged up, just return it with all the cords. I hope it will be a convenience to our patrons. We have outlets, of course, where you can charge devices. But it’s that pesky cord. That and the USB hub thingy. If you haven’t realized, I have just enough knowledge of this stuff to be a little bit dangerous!

Now, we can read ebooks on our phones and not have to worry about charging up!


Susan Miriello is the acting library director at the Mifflin County Library. She is currently reading “The Red Hand of Fury” by R.N. Morris. A young man is mauled to death by a polar bear at London Zoo. Shortly afterwards, another young man leaps to his death from a notorious Suicide Bridge. Two seemingly unconnected deaths — and yet there are similarities.