or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

Chelmsford Library to get Electric Car Charging Station

   August 18th, 2011 Brian Herzog

Electric car chargerWell, the fun never stops at the Chelmsford Library - I recently read in the newspaper that we'll be getting a car charger for electric cars.

What?!?, you might exclaim - I did, anyway. I was surprised to be finding out about it from the newspaper, but also the logic of placing it at the library wasn't immediately apparent to me.

According to the article, the charging station is a result of a state grant our Town Manager applied for (Chelmsford was one of 25 towns included in the grant), and it seems this project is really being driven by the Town (rather than the library).

The Town's Facilities Manager is attending an informational meeting this week, and hopefully will have more details to share after that. Right now, it's not entirely clear where the charger will be located, and therefore what kind of impact it will have on parking. I'm not sure if we'll have to dedicate a parking spot to this, how long it takes cars to charge, or if anything will be required of library staff. We've been assured that this won't be added to our electricity usage though, so that's good.

I'm pretty happy that car chargers will start popping up around the state - especially that many of the town listed on the grant are small rural towns, and not just big cities. Chelmsford makes sense because a lot of commuters go through here, so hopefully we'll be seeing more of these as electric cars become more popular (which they probably won't until chargers are widely-available, so I don't know if that makes us the egg or the chicken).

Since this was a Town project, I understand why they're placing it at a Town building, situated in the center of town. But it still does seem like an odd fit for a library - even more of a stretch than a Redbox. However, our solar panel array was also part of a Town grant, and the library was chosen in that case to help showcase the use of renewable energy, and we also built a print collection around it. Hopefully we'll be able to do the same for electric cars.

By the way, here's a Sun-eye view of the solar panels at the Chelmsford Library:

Satellite view of solar panels on the roof of the Chelmsford Library

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Going Solar (maybe)

   May 14th, 2009 Brian Herzog

solar panelLast week I talked about how my library just squeaked by, budget-wise, for the upcoming year. So with that in mind, let me say, behold the power of grants:

Chelmsford Library Eyed For Solar Energy Panels

This project is still in the works, but it'd be great if we could pull it off. Initially the library was passed over as a possible site because our roof is 10 years old.

But we're back in the running, the article says, because the library would be a very visible site, and we could run informational programs centered around renewable energy and green living. And, since this would reduce our costs, it would actually help with our budget situation.

So again, it's a long shot, but pretty neat, huh?

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EBSCO Launches Free GreenFILE Database

   April 8th, 2008 Brian Herzog

EBSCOhost logoLast month, EBSCO announced they are making their GreenFILE database freely available at http://www.greeninfoonline.com.

According to the announcement message, GreenFILE indexes scholarly and general interest titles, government documents and reports, concerning the ways humans affect the environment in the areas of agriculture, education, law, health and technology. The database contains nearly 300,000 records, including some full text for selected titles.

I added this database to my library's online resources webpage, but also wanted some more information. I wrote to EBSCO to ask why they are making this available free, and if they have any plans to change this to a subscription database. Here's the response I received:

GreenFILE is a free database we provide in an effort to facilitate research and understanding on matters concerning human impact on the environment. We also offer a free database called Library Information Science & Technology Abstracts which features content that is free on the web but for your convenience we've created a database for it.

Since no login or IP-authentication is required, this is an easy resource on a timely subject to add to a library's website. More information from EBSCO and The Ipswich Chronicle.

Also, for those who don't otherwise use EBSCOhost, this database allows a look at EBSCO's visual search interface.

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