"I majored in history at college," Tina Ulrich tells me, "but I loved libraries. Who doesn't love libraries?" She turned that affection into a career and today is running the library at Northwestern Michigan College. "I love what books do to me," she continues and recalls the Kafka quote about "books as an axe for the frozen sea inside us." They open up our world.
I agree, of course, because books are a big part of my life-but I worry about their future. "The book is a perfect technology," Tina says. "I use a Kindle for some things but I still read books." I ask her about the Internet: "Some people think it will make libraries obsolete."
"Not at all," Tina says. "The Internet is a reference librarian's dream come true, but not all information is created equal. It's easy to lie on the Internet." That's why she does a lot of teaching at the NMC library. "Part of being educated is not believing everything you read. Students need tools to make good judgments."
"Scholarly journals used to decide what knowledge was," she says, "but now the conversations are more informal and democratic. If we want to participate, we need to be informed."