“What is more important in a library than anything else—than everything else—is the fact that it exists.”
Imagine a public library. Do you picture dusty bookshelves and elderly librarians with glasses perched at the end of their nose demanding silence? Then perhaps you have not visited your local public library lately.
Public libraries have evolved from silent warehouses of old books into vibrant community centers, a place away from home, work or school where anyone can learn and discover new ideas. Libraries provide communities with a host of innovative products and services including fast internet connections, the latest books, music to download, movies to borrow, videogames to play, periodicals to peruse and eBooks to read. Small and large groups can book gatherings inside library meeting spaces and individuals can reserve private study rooms.
Libraries offer a variety of technology classes for individuals of varying ability levels, from learning the basics during Introduction to Computers or building on expertise during Electronic Photo Sharing. There are also high quality entertainment programs and educational classes appealing to all ages. Children can be entertained during StoryTimes and learn about math during a STEAM program. Adults can learn to play guitar, listen to local musicians play during an Open Mic Night or play library-sponsored trivia at a local tavern. Teens can prepare for the ACT by taking a practice test and can explore their creativity during a 3D printing lab.
Public libraries allow for discovery, self-examination and lifelong learning. When you require help retrieving information or learning how to accomplish a new task, remember to call upon the staff at your local library for assistance. Library staff can help you find the next great book to read or movie to watch. Additionally, they can teach you how to download a book to your smartphone or tablet device, attach a document to your emails or locate reputable financial or medical information using an online database. Questions can always be posed in person, by telephone, by live chat or text message.
The next time you are looking for something fun to do visit your local public library and discover how they provide so much more than books.
Dawn Bussey earned an MLS from Dominican University and a BA in American Studies from Knox College. Formerly with the Schaumburg Township District Library and the River Forest Public Library, she currently serves as director of the Glen Ellyn Public Library.