Why Blog About Libraries?
- pillars of free thought in American society
- endless shrines of books, internet access, and knowledge
- popularly thought to be growing more irrelevant with every new advancement in technology
To me, libraries hold all the secrets of the world. They provide knowledge, while leaving interpretation to each his own. They foster community indiscriminate of background, lifestyle, race, political views, religion, etc. They encourage reading, learning, and discovery for all ages. And of course… HELLO BOOKS. Books take words of the most mundane subject matter and breathe life into inert strokes of ink lying on a page.
Libraries are all of these things and more, yet the majority of people (in my experience) choose not to visit their local libraries. Even worse, many people that do not go to the library also believe that they are a “dying” institution.
A study published this year (2018) by the Online Computer Library Center, American Library Association and the Public Library Association found that, compared to the same study done in 2008, American voters are now overall less enthusiastic and less supportive of libraries. In 2008, 71% of participants thought that “if the library were to shut down, something essential would be lost.” This year, only 55% shared the same notion. In 2008, 71% agreed that “the library is an excellent resource for kids to get help with their homework”; this year that dropped to 51%. Lastly, one of the most important statistics I found in this report is that today, just 57% believe that “local support can make a big difference in the quality of the library” – down dramatically from 81% in 2008.
This leaves the question: why? Is there a way to get more people interested in utilizing the services their public library has to offer? Can the library be revived in the minds of people who see it as irrelevant? I hope so.
I am starting this blog to give ordinary people the inside scoop about libraries. I didn’t even know about half of the cool services and educational opportunities that public libraries offer until I started working at one earlier this year. Did you know that most libraries now have a cloud library where you can download popular books for free on your devices? What about the fact that many libraries partner up with local state parks and museums offering discounted or free admissions? They also offer free language learning services, online educational services, free downloadable magazines, access to academic research databases, and if you master the art of interlibrary loaning, free Netflix. I even read an article the other day that the New York Public Library just started a program lending out ties, briefcases, and purses for patrons to use at job interviews… the possibilities are endless.
Of course the best way to learn about what your specific public library has to offer is by going there and asking. The second best way is by visiting their website, and that is only going to be useful if they update it regularly. I plan to be the next best resource for all of your public library usage questions and needs. Some topics I will dive into on this blog include: the most efficient way to search catalogs, how public libraries are funded, how-to guides on cloud and e-book libraries, proper library etiquette, used book sale hacks, the history of libraries, how to do genealogy research, book reviews, and much more.
Libraries may be growing and changing with every advancement in technology, but having been around for thousands of years, they won’t be disappearing anytime soon. And if you disagree, instead of waiting for the inevitable, I challenge you to visit your local public library and see what they can do for you. Might I even remind you that you’ve most likely already contributed financially to your local library with your taxes, so why let that money go to waste?
As Albert Einstein once said: “The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.” Go find yours.