Why I Care Deeply About Our Libraries and Why You Should Too
I have never met a library I didn’t like, and I suspect I never will. If you are not a library patron, please read on, as you will be surprised by what I have to share.
Did you know the Oakland Library in California maintains a “tool lending library” of 3500 tools to lend to the community? Or there are over 150 libraries around the world where you can sign out humans, as a living book, to listen to their stories? Or public libraries act as the number one provider of internet usage for families without internet access at home, work or school?
Libraries, including ours in Lock Haven and Bellefonte, have much more than books to offer. To say a library is just about books is to say a concert or an album is just about notes or a gourmet meal is just about the nutrients the food provides.
We need libraries – it is as simple as that. Just as we need hospitals, grocery stores, roads, and postal service, our public libraries provide resources and services that we need.
If you are thinking you can find all that you need via your computer and the internet, please take the following true/false test.
True or False – at our libraries you can-
· Learn to play the ukulele
· Download an audio or eBook to your phone
· Find out what the best and worst sunscreens are to buy
· Research a local obituary from 1821
· Buy a current hardback best seller for $1
· Learn to fix the brakes on a 1980 Chevy truck
· Hold a puppet show
· Learn to speak Cambodian
· Borrow the movie La-La-Land or a complete season of Lost
· Make a rain stick
· Learn how to shoot an azimuth
· Take an historic walking tour
· Find out how to raise a reader
· Rent AV equipment
· Find braille reading materials
· Discuss The Full Monty
· Talk to a fire fighter
· Build a Rube Goldberg machine
· Borrow Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony
· Access and print a job application
· Make new friends
If you answered all of the above as true, congratulations! If you would like to know more about these resources, services and experiences, visit the Annie Halenbake Ross Library on W. Main Street in Lock Haven, or the Centre County Library & Historical Museum on N. Allegheny Street in Bellefonte or their web sites.
While libraries provide much for many, for some people, they are the only place to access what is needed. According to the American Library Association, Americans go to school, public and academic libraries three times more often than they go to the movies.
Lady Bird Johnson once wrote, “Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest.” Whether you are a library patron or not, my hope is you are developing an understanding of how vital our libraries are to our communities. In the coming months, there will be many opportunities to both learn from and to support the Centre County Library & Historical Museum and the Annie Halenbake Ross Library.
Hope to see you there!