It’s hard to believe that we are already a third of the way into the second month of 2016. It makes me think back a few years. Every once in a while I think about all of the speculation at the end of 1999 leading into 2000, with people predicting that all computer technology would crash and the world as we knew it at that time would just come to a standstill. Well that didn’t happen. The world of technology just keeps changing and growing in ways that most of us can’t even visualize.

Computers have changed so much. No one wants or even needs a big, clunky desktop computer to take up space on their desk or in their house. Free Wi-Fi is so prevalent that people don’t go out to eat without expecting their favorite fast-food restaurant to keep them connected. Cell phone use is at an all-time high and we are all supposed to be constantly at each other’s beck and call. It’s nice to be able to reach someone quickly when an emergency presents itself; it’s not so wonderful to be “chewed-out” by a family member because I didn’t reply to a text message in as timely a manner as they would have liked.

All of today’s technology comes with a lot of good and bad. We have kids who come into the library who don’t know how to entertain themselves if they can’t use a computer or they lost their cell phone. They won’t even consider reading a book or magazine and would rather sit and look forlorn while waiting for their friends or parents. We keep a good stock of games and toys handy in the hopes of enticing them into some creative recreation. Mike always has coloring pages available for young and old. He also pulls out craft supplies as the numbers and needs arise.

However, along with easy access to today’s technology, comes plenty of good things. We are able to retrieve so much good information online, as long as we know how to find and evaluate it. That is something that we can help you do at the library.

Some examples of places to go for good information to help you with today’s life challenges are:

• U.S. National Library of Medicine at https://www.nlm.nih.gov/ for medical information, clinical trials, Toxnet and more.

• Disaster Information Management Research Center at https://disasterinfo.nlm.nih.gov/ for information on disaster health, emergency response tools, projects and research.

• U.S. Small Business Association at https://www.sba.gov/ for information about loans and grants, local assistance and filing and paying taxes.

• Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance at http://www.ndbf.ne.gov/index.shtml for consumer alerts, banking and finance statutes and current news.

Today’s technology can be used to waste a lot of time or it can be used to help us navigate our daily lives. How you choose to use it is up to you.

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