Thursday, November 3, 2011

Why Your Library Is the Most Important Place in Town

I know why our Library is the most important place in town, but do you?

As librarians, we know the value of our community services, and our patrons appreciate their importance as well. In the magazine Public Libraries Volume 50 Number 5, was an article by Julie Biando Edwards, Melissa S. Rauseo, and Kelley Rae Unger. that took a look at some of the specific ways in which libraries add value to our communities and serve as cultural centers for our patrons.  They separated library services into five very broad categories:

  1. Libraries as Community Builders
  2. Libraries as community centers for diverse populations,
  3. Libraries as centers for the arts.
  4. Libraries as Universities.
  5. Libraries as champions of youth.
I would like to share with you 21 Reasons why your library is the most important place in town.
  • Libraries as Community Builders
    1. Libraries help revitalize struggling or depressed neighborhoods and down towns.
    2. Libraries are important partners in sustainability.
    3. Libraries' special collections grow out of specific community needs.
    4. Archives preserve historic artifacts, oral histories, digital history projects, relevant to the community.
    5. Libraries are places where people come to know themselves and their communities.
    6. Libraries serve as catalysts for addressing social problems.
    7. Libraries, which champion, promote, and reflect important democratic values,are a part of the community's political life. 
    8. Library buildings as architectural structures are culturally relevant.
    9. Libraries provide important business resources, especially for small local businesses.
  • Libraries as Community Centers for Diverse Populations.
    1. Libraries help to ensure that non-English speakers see themselves represented in their communities.
    2. Libraries provide immigrants with helpful information about, and opportunities to connect with, their new communities.
    3. Libraries provide information, resources, and support for patrons with disabilities.
  • Libraries as Centers for the Arts.
    1. Libraries provide access to non mainstream points of view and give voice to local artists.
    2. Libraries provide opportunities for free classes that encourage art appreciation as well as art participation.
    3. Libraries provide access to the arts for all, not just those who can afford them.
  • Libraries as Universities.
    1. Libraries serve as the "people's University"
    2. Libraries offer opportunities for remote access, making it possible for those who can't get to the library to still access the library's cultural and education offerings.
    3. Libraries go beyond providing content to enabling patrons to create their own content.
  • Libraries as Champions of Youth
    1. Libraries teach teens important life skills
    2. Free tutoring, homework help programs, and summer reading programs for kids and teens help bridge the economic divide that impacts students' academic performance.
    3. Libraries are important partners in child development.
These examples are just a few of the many amazing things that your public library is doing to build and maintain strong community connections.Check us out and see for yourself. 

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