Libraries are so much more. Libraries are an institution which supports lifelong learning. Libraries offer numerous educational and fun opportunities for youth and adults throughout the year. The impact of library services on the lives of those served varies. For some, it is a lifeline in a technological world where not everyone can afford or live in a place to “be wired”.
Libraries offer Internet access, technology assistance (unemployment, housing, public assistance, email and everything else), and current technology classes including computer programming classes for teens using Scratch, Game maker, and Linux for app making, 3D printing, genealogy and more. Libraries have iPads’s/Laptop/Chromebook checkouts, hotspot lending programs, telescopes, educational take home kits, and more. Libraries have proctoring for students during long distance learning. Libraries have databases like AtoZ
Food America where you can learn about different cultures and the food they make, including instruction on the history and how to make beer. Universal Class, an accredited continuing education online learning platform with a live instructor. With over 500 classes anyone can achieve anything.
Libraries support the literacy needs of all ages with an emphasis on “raising readers”, building a community, and the sharing of information. In small communities Libraries may be the only community organization that provides early literacy programs-which are the basis for reading readiness skills in children under 3 years of age, striving to eliminate the “30-million-word gap” (Between zero and three if children are read to for 15minutes a day they have a vocabulary of 30 million more words than those who are not read to, Hart and Risley). We partner with schools to support the teaching of reading for all skill levels through choices of
reading materials and having AR codes visible. Libraries support the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.
Libraries partner with Federal, State and local organizations to host a variety of events. Elementary and middle schools, collages, professional organizations, local businesses, and artists. Libraries teach different varieties of art activities including spray paint art, clay sculptures, watercolor. Some libraries even write, produce, and perform their own Murder Mysteries. Libraries have Backpack Programs where patrons can check out a pack. The pack offering fishing gear, binoculars, and maps of trails, flora, and fauna.
Libraries have implemented STEAM programming that is not available anywhere else for free. Libraries have Lego’s, Robotics, a Drone program, computer programming, art, culinary programs, and family game night. Libraries provide opportunities to explore nature through an Ag story time with petting zoo. We offer fly tying classes, fly fishing casting classes in the park, and a kid’s fishing derby. We partner with Fish Wildlife and Parks; they show patrons the different types of fish and talk about the fish in our streams. Libraries offer opportunities for families to participate in summer education through The Collaborative Summer Library
Program (CSLP), a nonprofit, charitable organization that supports literacy, education and science through summer reading events in public libraries across the United States.
The library has become a safe and structured place for after school children. It organizes community gatherings in hopes of bringing back the local experiences from earlier childhoods, escape rooms, educational scavenger hunts, peeps diorama competitions, storybook cake decorating competitions, and cook offs.
Libraries are second responders, with print resources and disaster literacy, especially during a cyber-attack.
Libraries have safe meeting places, provide a sense of normalcy, and are a resource for information during a time of uncertainty.
Libraries are leaders for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all. The best reading, for the largest number, at the least cost.
There is a lot in the media right now about the expectations of libraries and the Librarian. On December 17, 1791 the First Amendment in the constitution was added. It states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Libraries exist to have access to information.
Librarians are not responsible for raising other people’s children. If a parent is offended by a book, don’t let your child read it. Talk to your child about why it is not appropriate. There are millions of books to check out, stop focusing on one book. Every single book in the library can offend. There are killings, rape, bullying, racism, inappropriate content in almost every book in existence. Think about your favorite author or favorite book, someone will find something wrong. Banning books is a way to try to manipulate thoughts, creativity,
Hitler punished people for speaking. He banned and burned books. Society is getting punished for saying “gay” in Florida. Idaho and Kentucky are trying to hold librarians accountable for the roles of parenting. It is not the job of the librarian to dictate what people can read or checkout; that is censorship. A librarian’s job is to ensure a safe place for the community to access information. Our freedoms are under attack and democracy is in
jeopardy. We must guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all citizens whatever the background. We must remember that any oppression, and injustice, any hatred is a wedge designed to attack our civilization.
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our
children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the
same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children
what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” Ronald Regan