Wednesday, November 25, 2009

This Thanksgiving, be thankful for your Library!

Since it is almost Thanksgiving (wow, where does the time go?!), I thought that it would be nice to reflect on why I am thankful for libraries. We sometimes take public services for granted, and as the library is a public service, we easily forget all of the amazing things that librarians, and libraries in general, provide for our communities. I asked the wonderful staff here at ACLA for their input, and everyone was excited about the opportunity to say why they loved their library.  So, here is our list (feel free to add to it by commenting!):

"Why We are Thankful for our Libraries"
  1. Space for the Community to Come Together: In our increasingly digital world, the library encourages people to come in and connect face-to-face with other members of their community.  The library has evolved over the years from a strictly academic space into a space for the community. People of all ages come into the library to do more than just read, and we should feel blessed for this wonderful fact.
  2. Books to Borrow: I know that we all pay taxes to support the libraries, thus the books we borrow at the library are not really free. However, because we all chip in and share the load to buy the print resources provided by the library, there is a much larger selection available for all people to read and enjoy.  
  3. Technology: Most libraries provide computers as well as Wifi for those patrons who do not have these benefits at home.  Libraries are helping to decrease the digital divide, one computer at a time!  Also, libraries offer printing services, copying, and many other needed and appreciated technological services for the community.
  4. State Funding: We have all been worried about the state budget this year, and the funding being cut for libraries across the state and in our own region. We should be thankful for the funding that we still have, since some libraries are seeing their funding cut entirely.
  5. Interlibrary Loan: Have you ever really wanted a book, but could not find it at your local library?  Of course, you do not want to buy it on Amazon, or drive far away to another library to see if they have the book you seek.  Interlibrary Loan to the rescue!! This service allows the librarian to better serve the patron, and the patron access to many more resources across the county and, in many cases, the state.  And all without the shipping fees!
  6. Helpful Staff: Librarians and the staff that support them are some of our communities' most valuable resources. Patrons count on librarians to help them select books, and to offer programming for children, teens, and adults.  We are blessed in our county with such outgoing librarians and staff who seek to make every library experience an enjoyable one!
  7. Many libraries exist in our county!!: In Allegheny County, we have 45 libraries that share resources and ideas with each other to make your library experience the best it can be.  We are lucky to have so many great librarians and library collections in Western Pennsylvania and the Pittsburgh area.
  8. Space to read and relax: We all know how hectic it can get at home: Your kids need something to eat, your husband is watching the game on television, your brother is practicing the drums, your sister is talking on the phone with her friends, etc.  Many libraries have become wonderful places of relaxation for so many people, offering comfy chairs and inviting spaces to sit and get lost in a good book.
Can you think of any more reasons to be thankful? 

Happy Thanksgiving!!