The New Digital Branch of The Salinas Public Library– by SJSU Alumnus Eddy Hamelin

Technology has changed everything in our everyday lives – including how we access information from our public library. The Salinas Public Library (www, is like many other public libraries in that it offers its patrons the ability to access information from the library from the comfort of their homes. The digital branch ( offers users the ability to check out books, movies, and magazines as well as learn a new language, how to invest, and even fix a car! There are research materials for students of all ages. There are online resources to help map out your family tree and help your child with their homework.

Though technology is a wonderful thing and the digital branch offers much for the patrons, there are still some, for various reasons, who need the tactile feel of a book in their hands. There a few but growing number, of patrons who will only use the digital branch and only come to library if they need to or if there is a library program that they are interested in attending. For libraries, the challenge is the cost of maintaining and ordering materials for a digital branch, which can become difficult and expensive over time.

Either way, virtual or physical, our jobs remain the same – to connect the end-user with the information they desire and in the format they are most comfortable with using. I think we’ll see more electronic resources in our libraries, but physical books are here to stay!


Eddy Hamelin, MLIS graduated in May 2015. While in school, he was a peer mentor, a student assistant, and an intern. He now works at the Salinas Public Library as a reference librarian and archivist as well as doing adult programming. He is married and has three children.