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The library of today

Today’s library is much more than a card catalog filling up a monstrous row of drawers, combined with more monstrous rows of books.

That may be what libraries were like 50 years ago. But libraries have been evolving and at the forefront of adapting to technology for decades. First came the electronic card catalog, and the ability to check out movies and CDs. In the past two decades, the technology available through libraries has exploded. Through Suffolk Public Library, you can download e-books, audiobooks and e-magazines, stream music and movies and TV shows, learn how to use your electronic device, access scholarly articles and journals, legal documents and reference tools online, research your genealogy, take online learning courses, prepare for standardized tests and more. All of these services were unheard of to librarians 50 years ago, but they are a necessity for the library of today.

This Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the North Suffolk Library, 2000 Bennetts Creek Park Road, even more technology with invade the library in an event that’s open to the public.

“Flip the Switch” is a free, all-ages, no-membership-required event that will show off virtual reality and electromagnets. Folks can charge their phones by pedaling, participate in an art project using old, discarded technological devices, and play in a high-score contest for games like “Super Mario Bros. 3” and “Sonic the Hedgehog.”

The good news from this week is that library patrons met the Winter Reading Challenge goal before the event, meaning that new technology purchased with a Friends of the Suffolk Library donation will be unveiled at the event.

If you think libraries aren’t still relevant or that they’re still the stuffy old places of the past, going to this event would be the perfect way to challenge yourself on that perception.