May 19, 2022

Article: Why Do We Say ‘Surfing the Internet?’ You Can Thank Central New York Librarian, Jean Armour Polly


More than 30 years ago, Jean Polly started a revolution in the oddest of places: the Liverpool Public Library.

Polly, an assistant librarian at the time, decided the library should get a computer for the public to use.

It was 1981 and this was groundbreaking. They set up the computer, a black Apple 2 Plus, in a spot where everyone could use it. The American Legion raised money to buy the printer. At the time, Liverpool was one of two libraries in the country with a computer, said Polly, a Syracuse University alumna.


Also, if you’ve ever said, “Surfing the web,” you’ve got Polly to thank. It was the title of her 1992 guide for a library journal about how to use what would become the web. “Surfing the Internet: An introduction,” was published in the Wilson Library Bulletin.

Learn More, Read the Complete Article (approx. 660 words) + Video

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.