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Published: Friday, 7/16/2004

Library head finds books still hold their appeal

Easy access and the enduring love of books keep public libraries thriving even in a technology-driven world, Clyde Scoles, director of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, said during a taping of The Editors.

"There are those who prefer the book. I think the smell of the paper, the turning of the pages, and the book itself. Many people go to the bookstore, the library, for that purpose," he said.

Mr. Scoles, during a taping yesterday of The Editors television program, explored the changes libraries have encountered. In particular, libraries have been forced into a more technological world in which downloading books from the Internet and audio books have become popular alternatives. "I think within five years, we are going to see a lot of electronic books," Mr. Scoles said.

But that won't keep people from the libraries, where staff continue to help by researching questions, rare books can be found in a climate-controlled room, and visitors can not only borrow books but become involved in a variety of programs.

"Libraries in this country have seen more visitation, I'd say, in the last 10 years than they've ever seen before," Mr. Scoles said.

Changes that have affected librarians are those involving the responsibility to monitor Internet sites and their obligations under the Patriot Act.

Under the Patriot Act, libraries must surrender patrons' reading lists if investigators with proper authorization ask for them. Mr. Scoles said that his staff has not yet been confronted with the situation, but it differs little from being served a subpoena, which the library has encountered.

The library has 18 branches.

Mr. Scoles was questioned by Thomas Walton, vice president-editor of The Blade. The Editors will be broadcast at 8:30 tonight on WGTE-TV, Channel 30, and at 12:30 p.m. Sunday on WBGU-TV, Channel 27.

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