Go Ahead, Check Your Email — That's What Libraries Are For

During their Livestream show last week, Tegan and Sara (Canadian Indie Band… and identical twin sisters) were asked a question about what life was like on the road during their first tour in the 1990's. One of the first things they mentioned was how hard it was to communicate while on the road, and how things we take for granted now weren't available then.

Tegan stressed that "The word 'update' did not happen. Nobody ever said, 'We need to update your blog!'" Communications back then was much more basic. "Are you alive? Call us from a payphone!"

Sara then goes into the one way that they used to get to email, and that was by going into local public libraries and 'sneaking' onto the computers and pretending to do research. Libraries were different about how they perceived Internet usage in the 90's than they do now. Sara talked about her fear "If they caught you checking your email… there were these big signs that said 'DO NOT CHECK YOUR EMAIL!'" Of course, that attitude has vanished today. "Now they'd be like, 'Go ahead, check your email!'"

Tegan then says what a lot of people think today when she chimed immediately and said, "That's what libraries are for."

Now, this might make some librarians shudder, but most of the public librarians I know would simply accept this as a service they provide, and actually be embarrassed more from the fact that they once had such a rigid rule of making people afraid to use the library to check their email. Although Tegan and Sara have become successful enough to no longer need to sneak into libraries to check their emails or update their Facebook, Twitter or webpages, there is probably some upstart band out there right now that is walking into a public library somewhere in the hopes of checking email and letting their families know that they are still alive.


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