Library Garden is participating in the BLOGATHON for the Lexington (KY) Free Public Library
. The purpose of the blogathon is to raise awareness about the flood that caused so much damage to the library and the need for donations. For more information, please see the wiki
. To make a donation, please click on the banner below.
This post is a personal essay and does not speak for everyone here at Library Garden (unless they want it to!) The theme for the blogathon is “Why Libraries Rock” (or see another version here
), but I submit that libraries don’t just rock, they ARE
I give you definition number 5 from The Free Dictionary by Fairfax
5. a person or thing on which one can always depend: your loyalty is a rock
-retrieved http://www.thefreedictionary.com/rock, 08/31/09, 3:46pm
Libraries are things on which one can always depend (or they should be anyway). Libraries are there for you whether you are rich or poor, privileged or underprivileged, old or young, law-abiding or not law-abiding, educated or uneducated, beautiful or ugly. My personal library work background is in public libraries and I can tell you from first-hand experience, that many people consider the library a first (or last) resort in many cases.
When I worked in the Clifton Public Library
, I met a man who moved his family from Poland and literally his first stop was the library. He came for job information, school information for his daughters, and found out about the Conversation Club. He began attending the club and made friends and connections at the library. I came to know many other people who came to the Conversation Club and who frequented the library regularly for information, entertainment, conversation
. They would have come to Conversation Club every day if we had been able to hold it that often.
They came to use the free Internet stations to communicate with friends and family back home, and to look for work and apartments. They came to our computer classes and created resumes and learned how to search in our databases and in our catalog for books, dvds, cds. Their children used the library after school to play games on the computers and to do homework and socialize with other students.
At the Paterson Free Public Library
, I knew many regulars for whom the library was a safe and dependable place to come. These library users read entire newspapers cover-to-cover, looked at magazines and yes, used the free Internet stations. They attended the free cultural and entertainment programs and took part in events at the library. They relied on us to open every day, and be there every day.
Home-schooling groups, the Girl Scouts, small business owners, Toastmasters, and others all reserved and used the community space at these libraries to hold meetings and events. Seniors attended the free movies on weekday afternoons and book clubs met monthly. I don’t even have enough room to mention all of the children’s programming….
As a child, it was a weekly event for my mom to take my brother and sister and me to the library where we would literally stock up on piles and piles of books to bring home. I remember participating in the “reading olympics” and the summer reading programs every summer. And when I was looking around for a career, where did I head? To the library. Not originally to find a career in librarianship, but to find out information about careers, and to check out a sign for office help. Ultimately, that trip to the library resulted in me realizing that an actual LIBRARY career might be for me (true story)! Today, I have the most rewarding career I could ever have imagined.
Whether people realize it or not, whether they actively use their library on a regular basis or not, I think people think of the library as a rock. As something that will always be there and should always be there. Does this mean they take it for granted? Does this mean it will always be there?
Perhaps. Perhaps not. But those who love libraries, those who KNOW libraries ARE rocks, are such passionate people about their libraries. This blogathon is just one example of the types of passionate people working in, using, and surrounding libraries. Rocks seem permanent, but we know that events that are catastrophic enough can damage or demolish them. And, events that are minor, but happen over and over again for a long time (such as erosion) can also wear away a rock. Sometimes those who most depend on the library cannot be the ones to stand up and fight for, or protect the libraries. We who can do that need to remain vocal about libraries, our rocks, so that they never disappear.
Rock Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/aeu04117/581816877/
August 31, 2009 at 4:14 am Amy