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I received my first library card in 1972, I was 12 back then. I became an avid reader, especially Science Fiction (Harry Harrison, Jack Vance, Isaac Asimov and the incomparable Jules Verne). When I became somewhat older I expanded my library trips to a separate library, housed in a huge combined school building and theatre, the Technical Library. In that building the Christaan Huygens School for Fine Mechanics was housed as well; a watchmaker’s school. After you entered that part of the building there were three separate entrances: one to the theatre, one to the watchmaker’s school (back left) and to the technical library (back right). Between the two back entrances a display case was placed on a pedestal, lifting it to eye-height. Inside was one of the first DCF77 receivers (a huge 19” rack mount clock, still with Nixie tubes) a gift from the Swiss watch industry to the school, although the transmitter itself isn’t Swiss. Every time I visited that library (once a week) I set my watch to that clock.

There were also magazines in that library but only for reading on the premises. And there, in 1979, I browsed through a Dutch magazine for watch retailers and goldsmiths. And in that magazine I read an article about the introduction of the Cartier Santos Dumont. The watch was presented to a couple of Dutch sports celebrities and I vowed to get one as well. I did, about a year later for the princely sum of 1,995 Dutch Guilders. I later sold it to my brother who still wears it.

I still have a library card although it is an electronic pass now. And today, I went to the main subsidiary to loan a couple of CDs (by progressive rock band Sky). As I hadn’t done this for a couple of years, the experience was very impressing. There’s just one library attendant, he explains the process. You sit down at a desk with a card reader and an iMac. You place your card on the reader and are automatically logged in into the library’s on-line catalogue. You search for CDs, place them on your ‘loan list’ and when you are done you click on the 'loan' button. You then watch a large LCD screen on the wall that displays your name and the status of your request. When the status changes to ‘ready for pick up’ (it takes 5 minutes or so), you go to a wall that consists of 30 small lockers and a payment terminal. You place your card on the reader, make the payment with your bank card and after that the display shows you a locker number. When you remove your card, the locker pops open and lo and behold, your CDs are there. Fully automated! Incredible, how times have changed! But I still wear a mechanical watch :D
 

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My wife wanted to be a librarian early in our relationship. I think she still does want to be one, but from what I understand, librarians these days are part curator, part IT, and part information management. Your new experience (which I thank you for sharing, by the way) just made that more apparent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
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Wow! That is incredible! You can borrow CD's and movies from many public libraries her in the US for free, amazingly enough!
Ya FD, same here in Canada. Matter of fact, the small town in which we live, pop 30,000 has the highest use per capita in Canada. Thankfully, outrageously high taxes (all taxes) go towards "free" healthcare & "free" libraries. For now.

I visit my library 1x per week. Love it. :cool:
 

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Ya FD, same here in Canada. Matter of fact, the small town in which we live, pop 30,000 has the highest use per capita in Canada. Thankfully, outrageously high taxes (all taxes) go towards "free" healthcare & "free" libraries. For now.

I visit my library 1x per week. Love it. :cool:
I can't say I visit mine as I should. The kids are much better than I am. We have one a couple blocks away. Small local branch for our city.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It is free for every Dutch citizen up to the age of 18. Including the subscription. This has been done to provide an equal opportunity for all, the affluent and less well to to alike. The same was valid for general museum attendance but because of budget cuts that was axed many years ago. Culture is an important part of one's education and that is the thought behind it. Museums in my home town used to be free for all well into the early Nineties but that was ended for the same reason, budget cuts. General Transport for everyone 65 and older however is still free.
 
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