Love your library every week!

By TAMMY GARRISON

National Library Week was this week and that gives us a chance to discuss what’s so great about libraries! This list only contains ten things, but it could easily number a hundred. Libraries are a living, breathing, vital place in our communities and they are not going away any time soon. Let’s get started:

1) We don’t want you for what is in your wallet. The library is a safe place to be where you don’t have to pay money just to exist in the space. It’s a place to meet with friends or associates and a place to be yourself. You can learn or relax in the library without someone asking you to pay for the privilege.

2) We probably have what you’re looking for. And if we don’t, we can usually get it. Are you looking for that best seller mentioned on that morning talk show? Do you need a classic for a school project? Are you looking for an audio book to keep you company during that long trip between home and work? We have you covered. If we don’t have it immediately available, we can put you on the waiting list, or borrow the materials from another library on your behalf.

3) We know things. Librarians are trained in how to find information, which, in this complex world, is much more difficult than Google would lead you to believe. We know how to research. We know where to look. We can save you time and frustration. Neil Gamain said, “Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.”

4) We don’t judge. Really, we promise we don’t. We don’t know why (or really care) you’re checking out all those romance novels, or those teen books, or that book on STDs. We promise we aren’t secretly judging you. Information should be available to all and it’s not our place to judge what you need or why. It’s only our place–and our privilege–to provide it.

5) We’re more popular than your local movie theater. It’s true. Americans go to libraries three times more often than they go to the movies.

6) We have things other than books. We have ebooks, wifi, computer access, toys, learning kits, memory retention kits, and more. Some libraries even loan out things like power tools, sewing machines and baking pans. And we want to know what you need! Tell us what we should add to our collection!

7) We want to help! It can be with finding a book, finding information on a new medical diagnosis, learning where to start with e-mail or computers, or even how to find your ancestors. Libraries provide programs on budgeting and sewing and science and music, and for all ages. And usually for free.

8) We are super cost-effective! Libraries provide $5 of value for every $1 put into them. Your Clinton County Libraries shared $650,000 worth of materials last year. We also hosted hundreds of programs for all ages, provided meeting space for dozens of organizations and delivered books and other materials to dozens of off-site locations in the county.

9) We are more numerous than McDonalds. It’s hard to believe this is true, but it is! There are 102,721 more libraries than there are McDonalds. This includes every type of library from public to military to medical to academic, and everything in between. We’re still needed, and we’re still here!

10) We need you! We’re nothing without our patrons. Libraries are places for people to meet and engage with each other and with the library materials. They’re places to find help and comfort. They’re places for discovering yourself and others. Most importantly of all…the library is a place for YOU.

Until next time, this is your Friendly Neighborhood Librarian, signing off! Happy reading!

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Tammy Garrison is Library Director at The Annie Halenbake Ross Library. She can be contacted by calling 570-748-3321.

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