Electronic access to databases from own PC
Copenhagen Central Library is now offering the citizens of the municipality access from own PC to a number of large high-quality international databases and the usage has already increased considerably. The programme used confirms that the user lives in the municipality and is registered as a borrower. The databases were previously only accessible from the library and the service was not much in demand. This is a common problem as databases require intensive and broad marketing, and it was therefore decided to give access from home all round the clock. The users have expressed great satisfaction with this new initiative, and the library is now working on interactive guides to the databases to facilitate search.
Ethics and the libraries
In his article “Ethics – our inner compass” Chris Erichsen asks why libraries – unlike museums and archives – have not agreed on a set of ethical guidelines: “The libraries are at the core of the so-called information society. And at the very centre of the local community. Every day they have to consider questions that have ethical implications.” In the article “A question of choice”, Robert Vaagan is interviewed by Signy Irene Karlsen. Robert Vaagan does research into the libraries’ role in society and in this interview he touches upon many aspects of the concept of ethics. “Ethics should help us in many difficult situations, and that is its very essence”, says Robert Vaagan. In a subsequent article, “Norwegians suffer from a magnificence syndrome”, Robert Vaagan suggests that common ethical guidelines would bring about a professionalisation of the librarian’s job and encourage co-operation across the different library types.
Hospital libraries hard hit
It seems ironic that just when two major library reports are being published, many hospital libraries are being shut down or are under threat. The theme in the present issue of Biblioteksbladet is the threatened hospital libraries in Alingsås, Nyköbing, Kalmar and Ersta Sjukhus in Stockholm. Since the 1970s, hospital libraries have been taken for granted and experienced an expansive development. One popular slogan went like this: “Books are the best medicine” and providing patients with books was an obvious service. But now things are changing. Focus seems to have moved to servicing hospital staff and producing patient information. The librarian only visits the patient, if the patient himself requests this.