The start of the day requires ritual, and each person’s daily ritual is different. Some people go to worship; some go for a run; some go for a cigarette. I go online. My day does not begin until I sit at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee and my Kindle Fire. I’ve got to tell you, that Kindle is my favorite thing. If I were Oprah, it would be at the top of my list.
My morning routine includes checking the Amazon Deal of the Day, to see if I feel compelled to purchase a deeply discounted item. If not, I further inspect the categories “Arts and Crafts” and “Kitchen” to see if any products are calling my name. I check weather.com for the temperature and forecast, because I don’t want to be caught without rain gear in a shower. If only they could tell me, “it’s 68 degrees, but you’ll be chilly. Bring a little jacket.” After that, I might check my NYPL account (that’s the public library, in case you don’t know the acronym), to see whether their materials need renewal, return or retrieval. I might review my incoming email, not to read them, but to see if they are interesting enough to read. (They usually aren’t.) If there is enough time, catching up with a missed television program would be appealing.
When I get to work, I immediately log into my TouroOne account. The portal is where employees record their time and attendance. If you are a student, you know it is where you access your Touro email. It is the same for employees, too. This time, I will actually read the email, and take action on any pressing matters.
In the course of my employment and in my personal life I am online, at minimum, ten hours a day. Even when I am engaging with humans face-to-face, I still need Internet tools to answer reference questions. I am Internet co-dependent and The Web is my enabler. So imagine my horror one workday when I saw this on my computer monitor:
Oh, no!! What’s a body to do? How can I work without the Internet, or more specifically, without my library website? The answer is I can’t. If someone asks about the location of a book, I am without an online catalog for guidance. Of course, I have a general idea of subject areas and their corresponding alphabetical range, and so do you. We have a sign for that.
But if you ask whether my library has a specific book, I will tell you I have no idea. Need a journal article? Uh, oh. While the library website is down, there is no access to the databases and consequently no access to the journals and articles therein. More importantly, without the databases, there is no access to the tools that help you to limit your search results. Sure you can look through print journals, but good luck finding that short peer reviewed empirical study published within the last 3 years.
“Internet Addiction” is not yet a real diagnosis, so you won’t find its clinical features in the newest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the American Psychiatric Association’s classification guide. (In her book Furiously Happy, author Jenny Lawson refers to the DSM-5 as “the big book of crazy”, certain a more catchy title would increase its sales.) The DSM-5 does, however, describe Internet Gaming Disorder, a close relative, and other bona fide psychiatric conditions. In addition to the online version, Touro Library has the DSM-5 in print. Luckily, I know where among the reference books we keep it, which will come in handy in the event the website is down.
Contributed by: Carol Schapiro, Librarian, Midtown