Over and over again we’re seeing it on our ballots: A millage to keep our community’s library open. Nobody enjoys paying more in taxes, but I know myself, for one, would hate to see a wonderful thing like my library get shut down.
As a mom, I’m already experiencing the benefits of our library for my daughter — we look forward to our weekly story time to meet other little ones (and socialize with other adults), and after, check out books, CDs, DVDs, and more. I love it because it makes me feel connected to my community.
One of my best friends, Sarah, makes her living talking to libraries and assisting in marketing their electronic services and sharing ideas on how to leverage resources in their communities at Gale, Cengage Learning. She helped me come up with this list of great reasons libraries rock as community resources.
1. Free Wi-Fi (without being guilted into buying a cup of coffee). For people who may have cut internet from their bills for financial reasons, 82% of public libraries provide free Wi-Fi. Additionally, the Wi-Fi is great for entrepreneurs, who can also take advantage of the research available, access conference rooms for meetings, and more.
2. Plentiful Programming. Some libraries host cool programs like teaching patrons how use photo editing software, but if your doesn’t, you can always bet on the basic computer skills, book clubs, and kids story time. Some even offer free music concerts. Many libraries also develop programming around teens – perfect for finding sources for their homework, and enjoying special events like poetry slams, movies and gaming sessions.
3. Rad Resources. Most states have a statewide “electronic library” that every library in the state and their communities have access to. Here in Michigan, MeL (Michigan Electronic Library), provides many databases and electronic resources that can be used at any time. For example, MeL provides free access to practice tests for GED, ACT, SAT, ASVAB, and more. MeL also provides free access to thousands of magazines and newspapers from any computer in the state. These resources are WAY better than finding information on the wide open web because the information is guaranteed to be accurate and authoritative.
4. Free eBooks. Are you too techie for an old-fashioned paperback? Many libraries now offer free downloads for iPads, Kindles and the likes. You will need a library card to access these materials, though.
5. Reading = Success. Reading is key to future generations. To me, you can’t deny a child his/her right to read by taking away access to public libraries. Harry Truman once said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” And Dr. Suess says, “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Read more about libraries in crisis over here at this awesome Huffington Post series.
When was the last time you visited your local library?