I need to expound on ILS, Institutional Library Services, to entice you to join in this happy fray. It won't make you younger, sexier, richer, nor more loved or celebrated than Brad Pitt and Angela, as I look at it now - it isn't going to do anything for you. Unless you are in an institution or care about someone that is... (did I get her name wrong? I did didn't I? oops!). When the current President Bush decided to attack Iraq and what ever he thought he could accomplish for History I looked up on the internet the Iraqi libraries, where they were, what they had, and such -- not very exciting, but I knew that some of them would be damaged or destroyed in President Bush the youngster's war. I haven't been back to check, I do know that with American troops come lots of reading material from supply, exchanges and family support, and we will leave much of it for the locals to read in English. I picked up lots of British publications during my trip to Saudi Arabia for the elder Bush's war. Anyway, back to institutional library services.
You have a population of people separated from America's culture and commerce, for healing and treatment or programming. This population needs access to the outside and a library can provide entertainment and education without subjecting the outside population, you, to the stress of contact with the separated persons. That could be what is going on, I am not sure, but some one has decided that a library can assist in the return of this special population to normal society. Is there empirical proof that a library can make an incorrigible into a better human being? I like to point to Red and Malcom X, but then you would have to know I chopped that story into its smallest pieces, and expect that you know not everyone goes to nor uses the library for its maximum potential. That is a disjointed effort in explaining institutional libraries, sorry.
I work in the Institutional Library Services to help provide that help in finding one's way out of the present and into a past and a better future. I know that I am called on daily to bring a change in knowledge, attitude and satisfy one's question without an answer. Do I make a difference? only in that I open the door and allow some one in, they get to open the books. That may be all the difference needed. More library keepers are needed far from the flag pole and all the glory in the Capital, the Washington State Library serves less than twenty institutions, serving over fifteen thousand or so patrons with no other library service. Of the employees in the State Library much less than a third are engaged in Institutional Library Services directly, much less, remember the guards at the border with the barbarians? Institutional Library Services