On Wednesday April 17, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Library held their 10th Annual Library Open House. The open house provides an opportunity for those within the FCC to experience the latest in cutting-edge technology to access content and to gain insightful tips on how to conduct effective searches for their research projects and information needs.
The library hosted a variety of our subscription databases, as well as technology manufacturers and public libraries. This allowed FCC staff to see how the products that the manufacturers the agency works with can be used in library settings of all types. This year the library used a modified take on the National Library Week theme, Community Matters @ The FCC Library. The idea was to show that no matter where an employee works within the agency, the library is always there to help them.
Whether inquiring how to search some of the leading databases for federal documents or anticipating the release of new technology devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone slated for release the week of April 22, professionals representing all of the FCC’s bureaus and offices within the agency were engaged in the activities taking place. The event even drew FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai who were speakers at the opening.
Chairman Genachowski praised the library for its forward move into the digital environment as a capstone for staying relevant. The merging of the FCC Technology Experience Center into the library space was another pivotal point he mentioned as an example of 21st century libraries being immersed in the digital climate. Commissioner Pai, who spent some time exploring at the event, recalled his interest going to public libraries growing up.
“To add a library to a house is to give that house a soul,” he summed up in reflection, quoting from Roman philosopher and lawyer Marcus Tullius Cicero. In addition, he reminisced about the first time he used the FCC Library as an attorney when he received more information than he expected. The commissioner also emphasized the value of attending library events like this to understand the diverse ways to access information in ways not anticipated.
The influence of public libraries that Commissioner Pai highlighted was made a reality as the D.C. Public Library and Montgomery County Library booths had streams of professionals dropping by to learn more about sources and services they can obtain through their library cards. The demonstrations served not only as informational booths but also mini-instructional sessions where vendors, including the public libraries, were able to do one-on-one instruction of their resources with open house participants who typically work on major assignments even when telecommuting.
This post was written by By FCC Library Director Lisa Leyser and Library Assistant and ALA Spectrum Scholar Levertes Ragland.