“Are Libraries Outdated?” Guest Blog Post by Terry Rodino

Are Libraries Outdated? Or, Don’t Be A Jerk-face! Or, Libraries Are Awesome!

By Terry Rodino, Chair of the Library Board of Trustees

Recently, a jerk-face economics professor from New York wrote an opinion piece for Forbes saying that public libraries are no longer useful and should be replaced by Amazon services.  His “argument” is that the same services can be provided by businesses that charge for their services. Instead of going to the library, you can go to the local Starbucks. Instead of checking out a book, you can simply buy the digital version. (Although the original article has been removed, the folks at the American Library Association’s Young Adult Library Services Association made a PDF copy. Don’t mess with librarians.)

I get it, everyone can sit back at the local coffee shop, reading their favorite book on their tablet/phone/whatever-fancy-device-they-have. They can take their kids with them. The kids can have their favorite spiced mocha lattes while watching videos on their watches. Okay, yes, I am exaggerating. You can’t watch Netflix or Amazon Prime on your watch, can you?

Libraries are they greatest place on earth! Anyone who disagrees with me can eat garbage! Nasty mysterious garbage in a black bag that has been sitting on the curb in the late-July sun for a week. And then the garbage men didn’t show up, and it sat out there for another week in early August. Blah.

Okay, whew. I got that out of my system. There might have been some hyperbole. Sorry, Jerk-face professor. I mean, professor.

Let me explain some of the benefits of our library that you can’t buy from Amazon or Starbucks.

  1. A yearly summer reading program. Every year, our library tries to reinforce people’s love of reading by rewarding them for reading! So, instead of you paying to read the book of your preference, the librarians have reached out to local businesses, who have in turn donated from their businesses, to reward you for reading. So, you are getting gifts to read! That’s it! Are you kidding me? That’s absolutely nuts! (Apologies to anyone who thinks I am being inappropriate for referring to people as “nuts” or people who have nut allergies and think I am being unfair because of my privilege of not being allergic to nuts).
  2. Our library has really awesome, but awkwardly named, Adult Exploration Kits. These are duffle bags that include numerous items on various subjects. Personally, I’ve checked out the ones on Espionage, Wood Working and Lawn Games! These kits contain books, movies, games and other pertinent items for whatever Adult Exploration Kit you checkout (see, it just sounds…). Anyway, these are my favorite things about the library!
  3. They have kits for Book Clubs! So, if you belong to one of those groups who meet in people’s living rooms and want to talk about who is more dreamy, Mr. Darcy or Mr. Rochester, well – I honestly don’t know where to go with this one.
  4. The library provides free access to online databases so that you can download ebooks and audiobooks! You don’t even have to go to the library to do it! You can sit at home in your pajamas, or on the potty, and check out your favorite Stephenie Meyers ebook! It can be at 2 o’clock in the morning! Also, you don’t have to drag all the children to the library, unless you want to! But, really, who wants to? I have three kids and I take them, but is it really by choice? But, if you do like taking your kids, then –
  5. Activities for kids! A birthday party for Harry Potter? Sing Along Musicals? Story Time? Baby Time? Toddler Time? Um, yes. The library holds these programs! Checkout the Main Calendar page to see what’s going on! If your too lazy to read (like you’d be reading this – lol), call the library and ask what’s going on. Oh, personal note, don’t just drop off your kids. That’s called abandonment and it’s against the law. Seriously, you have to stay with your kids. If you’re trying to argue that, what kind of parent are you?

These are on top of getting to checkout books, CDs, DVDs, Audiobooks for free! (As long as you return them on time. Seriously, why do people get mad when there is a late fee? You know you have to return them. Don’t get angry with the librarians because you forgot to keep track of stuff).

Okay. Sorry.

I was going to write a patriotic post about how Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were avid supporters of the library and how Abraham Lincoln credited his learning to his local library. You can look that stuff up, if you want.

So, finally, you belong to a community that has an awesome library! Have I said that enough? Don’t be a jerk-face and support your local library!

(jerk-face) Terry Rodino
Chair, Board of Trustees, Madison Library District

Ps. I completely support Amazon and the billionaire Jeff Bezos in everything he does. Jeff, you can contact me anytime brah!


Get to Know Your Board of Trustees – Pamela Beard

Hello! My name is Pamela Beard. I have been on the Board of Trustees since 2007. I love the library! I love books! I love to learn!

I love coming into the Library and finding a new documentary DVD to check out that I have not already seen. The documentaries are the first section I go to when making my choice for movies. The Blue Planet Series and anything with information about the Earth are my favorite!

I enjoy nonfiction books. One of my favorite books is called The Brain’s Way of Healing by Norman Doidge, M.D. For a light read, I like books written by Lynn Kurland especially the de Piaget Family series and the MacLeod Family series. They are fun fast reads when I need something to escape from reality.

I grew up reading and spending time in libraries. I feel it a privilege to be on the Library Board and serve the community.

Get to Know Your Board of Trustees – Tony Derricott

I am Tony Derricott.  I have been a member of the Board of Trustees for the Madison Library District since June of 2013.  Prior to that I was also a member of the Madison Library Foundation.  I have served 1-year stints as both Vice Chair and Chair of the Board.  Leading and following have both been enjoyable experiences for me.

My wife and I both work for BYU-Idaho.  We and our children have long enjoyed patronizing libraries.  I have fond memories of visiting the Carnegie Library in Preston as a child.  One of my first favorite book series was “The Great Brain.”  In addition, I had a subscription to Games magazine.  Later in life I volunteered and then worked for some time in the Bitterroot Public Library up in Hamilton, Montana, prior to moving to Rexburg back in 2009.  Serving just seems right…it’s my type of fun!  You should come and try it sometime! 😉

In the meantime, continue to patronize the library.  I have a list of thousands of books that I want to read that I keep organized on my account in Goodreads.  I have just finished The Great Gatsby and am now reading Silas Marner.  In the past, I’ve read the complete list of Newbery Award Winner books.  Want to see what else I’ve read or want to read?  Join me on Goodreads and see what books we might have in common. The library also sponsors a Goodreads contest. If you see me in the library or in person, let me know how I can represent you on the board.  Whether we only meet online or in person, let’s talk books.  They’re good for us!

Get to Know Your Board of Trustees – Golden Fulcher

GREETINGS!  I’m Jared Golden Fulcher, one of your friendly neighborhood Trustee members!  You can call me Golden since there are too many Jareds around here. 😀

I’ve been on the Board of Trustees for over three years now and it is an honor to fill this position.  I am lucky to work with four other people who are like me and want to help guide the Madison Library District on to bigger and better things.

Me?  Oh. Well.  Let’s see. I’m originally from Maryland and grew up with deviously evil parents.  They were dead set on not only tricking us kids into reading, but using the library!  No joke!  Their standard go-to trick was to get us kids book series as presents but intentionally NOT give us the last book in the series.  Fiends!  The one year their tricks caused an insurrection was when for Christmas they got each of the three younger kids, myself included, one book each from a series.  Three kids, one copy of book one, library closed for the holidays…  I still have nightmares.

Despite the almost collapse of the Fulcher family, we all grew into voracious readers and found love in many diverse forms of writing.  I myself graduated from Ye Ole BYU-Idaho with a BA in English-Creative Writing (can you tell?).  I enjoy contemplating and writing the various, “What if?” type of stories that thread through History, Fantasy, Church, Science Fiction, and Modern themes.

As for what I enjoy reading, well, that goes all over the place.  I can get into a good Dean Koonz novel just as fast as one of Gerald N. Lund’s books.  If I’m up for a book that will take me a year and a half to read, Tad Williams is my guy (Sorry Robert Jordan).  Growing up I gained a strong love for the high adventure books of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Fritz Leiber, and Robert E. Howard.

But my current, all time hands down favorite author has got to be Jim Butcher.  His Dresden Files series is AMAZING!  He is able to create a lush and full picture in each page that brings not only the characters to life, but breathes dimension into the world you’re exploring.  I really can’t get enough of him.

Well, I think I’ve rambled on enough about me, thanks for reading and remember, I didn’t just name drop these authors to get brownie points with them, I hope that at the end of this article you might just get curious enough to head down to the Library, and check one or two out for yourself.  C’mon, I double-dog dare ya!

Get to Know Your Board of Trustees – Terry Rodino

Hi! My name is Terry Rodino and I am the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Madison Library District. This means that the board members who didn’t want the position of Vice-Chair nominated and sustained me for the position. In all seriousness, it’s been a pleasure to serve the community with the other dedicated members of the Board and Library Staff.

Libraries are an integral part of my family’s life. My wife, Ina, a native of Rexburg, worked at the Madison District Library. She now works at the David O. McKay Library at BYU-Idaho. Several years ago, there was an opening on the board and my good wife filled out the paperwork, told me that I was running to be on the Board of Trustees, and had me sign the paperwork. As an obedient husband, I did as I was told. We have three children, a cat and, quite possibly, a couple of overdue library books.

One of my favorite books is about a wizard who goes to a school for wizards! That’s right – A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin. The first in a series of books written about thirty years before another somewhat famous young wizard, A Wizard of Earthsea tells the story of Ged, also known as Sparrowhawk, who saves his village, goes to a school for wizards and does so much more. On top of being entertained by an amazing set of stories, the reader can enjoy the wonderful prose style of Ms. Le Guin.

You can reserve A Wizard of Earthsea at the library or use rb-digital to listen to the audiobook for free. The Madison District Library provides two online services, OverDrive and rb-digital, for patrons to download eBooks and audiobooks for free. You can find out more at: https://www.madisonlib.org/downloadables/

Get to Know Your Board of Trustees – David Reeser

My name is David Reeser, and I am the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Madison Library District.  I have been a member of the Library Board for over 2 years now and I love this opportunity to support the library and the library staff.  I am married to an amazing lady, Brenda, and we have 4 children and 2 wonderful grandsons.  I currently teach Government, AP Government, and classes on the Holocaust and Human Rights at Madison High School.  

My mother, Cheryl Reeser, was a long-time employee of the Madison District Library.  She started as the Children’s Librarian and eventually became the Director of the library until her death in 1992.  I spent my childhood in our library.  As a family, we were also the custodians so I went with my father to the library each TuesdayThursday, and Saturday to vacuum, empty wastebaskets, mop, mow the lawn in the summer, and clear the sidewalks of snow in the winter (my first experience working a snowblower!).  Often, while growing up, I would find myself in the library finding new books, listening to music, and watching old films on a 16mm projector my mom would set up for me in the staff break room.  Those were wonderful experiences and I have fond memories of my time working and learning in the library. 

A couple of years ago, when I learned that the library board had 2 vacant seats and they were looking for candidates to run, I decided it was a great opportunity to help the library continue to be a great asset in our community.  I ran unopposed and am very happy to be on the Board of Trustees to support the great work the staff does on behalf of the patrons of our library. 

As a Government teacher, and as someone who has studied the Holocaust for years, I have a book recommendation: “On Tyranny, Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century” by noted Holocaust and European historian Timothy Snyder.  It contains warnings from the past century on how fragile democracy can be and what we can do to preserve ours.  One quick quote, “Stand out.  Someone has to.  It is easy to follow along.  It can feel strange to do or say something different.  But without that unease, there is no freedom.  Remember Rosa Parks.  The moment you set an example, the spell of the status quo is broken, and others will follow.” 

Please come and enjoy all the library has to offer!

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