I love libraries. I go to my local library at least once a week. When my kids were little we were there approximately three times a week. There were story times, many different programs during the summer, and even movie times. It wasn’t unusual for my kids to prefer the library to an afternoon at the lake. As a matter of fact, if given the choice, they always chose the library.
Our town is little and rural. We’re a small community with limited resources, and when it came time to expand the library there was a lively debate. One of my neighbors claimed that “no one” goes to the library. I asked her when she noticed this. She was unable to answer, since she rarely even goes to the town office buildings (where our library is located). In order for our library to apply for an expansion grant, they needed to take a count of how many people went to the library for approximately six months. The findings were rather interesting. Our little library was the one in the entire state that had more people visiting and taking out books and/or media of any town our size and smaller (also including many larger towns). We did in fact receive grants, one from the state and another from the federal government, ensuring that we were able to expand our building. For the past six months, our library has been located across the street in a much smaller building. Hopefully the library expansion will be completed soon, and they will be able to move back into their actual building. I for one, can hardly wait. You would think that because the library is in a much smaller building temporarily, that there would be less people going to the library. I’m sure that’s the case, however whenever I’m there, it’s fairly crowded, and we’re all eagerly anticipating the move back into the newly expanded building.
The reason I’m sharing my library experience with you, is that there are people out there who are trying to take your local library away from you. Now, why would that be? Many libraries have an Inter-library Loan System which means that if you want to borrow any book that your local library doesn’t have, you can borrow it from any other library in your state that does have it. Not only can you borrow it, but they will bring it to your library for you. You don’t have to drive two hours away to borrow the book. This is great, and it makes all the books in the state available to you. In my state I am also able to borrow from the state university library, thus opening up a rather large array of books on a variety of subjects. This comes in handy when I’m researching a subject for a book that I may be writing.
Now, we all heard the argument that since everyone has access to the internet, libraries are no longer important. That belief falls apart when you realize that one in five people in the U.S. do not have access to the internet. Also, I and many other people go to the library to borrow books. Most people in this country cannot simply buy any book they are interest in reading. There is a majority of people in the U.S. who are living at or below the poverty line. Buying books is not a choice, however borrowing them is.
What do you think about public libraries? Do you use yours? Let me know in the comments below.