Tomorrow begins Library Card Sign-up Month and as a librarian I can’t help but devote some time on the topic of libraries. It has sadly become a generally accepted belief that while a community staple, libraries are becoming irrelevant and obsolete. Well, nothing could be farther from the truth as libraries have become more widely used in the past several years. Due in large part to the economic downturn, many individuals who may have long forgotten their public library are now being reminded of one of the last truly public (as in the case of public libraries) meeting place. The library is more than a repository of information and old books.
September is the month where we remind individuals that the most important school supply as well as the smartest card you’ll ever own is a library card. Gone forever are the days when libraries were simply a place to go for some quite time and to checkout books. Today’s libraries are vibrant and relevant as they mix the old with the new. At the Twin Lakes Library System patrons can, as of today, checkout downloadable ebooks and audiobooks through Georgia Download Destination. Additionally here are a few of the other services that you may be surprised are offered at our public library:
- Photocopy and fax services
- Public access internet computers (the MVML has 30 computers for adults and an additional 4 designated for teens while the LSL has 9 computers)
- Public wireless (available 24 hours a day)
- Public meeting room (accommodates up to 12)
- Notary services (free with a valid library card)
- Proctoring services (free with a valid library card)
- Scanning services ($1 per page scanned)
- DVDs (many popular titles and new releases) and video games
- On-site bookstore (no item is over $5)
And that’s just a few of the many programs and services provided at the library. It’s true, often times we forget about libraries. Many of us take for granted what is now generally accepted as necessities rather than a luxury, internet access. There are still many who cannot afford internet access and with so many things requiring one to get online (Facebook included), the library has become the dedicated place for people to come and work on their resumes, check email and other social networking sites, and simply curl up in a chair and yes, read a book.
The library has and will always redefine itself. As information seekers there has to still be a place, whether virtual or bricks and mortar, that provides us with the resources we need to network and gather information. More and more of today’s libraries are branching out and offering other services to its communities including Singles Night events, movie nights, gaming events, or even other non-traditional activities. Need a place to just get away, a change in scenery? That’s your public library. In many cases you can grab a cup of joe, a snack, and even a movie, and spend a few hours at the library. For those who haven’t been in a long time, your public library may surprise you. Much as it did when you were a child and you marveled at the wonders of the adventures you’d find in its books, there are just as many wonderful and exciting new marvels found there today. Sadly like the story of Peter Pan, we often grow up and forget about what the library institution has and can continue to do to enrich our educational, cultural, and entertainment needs. So if you don’t already, be sure to get the smartest card anyone can have in their wallets. Sign up for a library card today!
Originally written and published as a Web Exclusive on August 31, 2011. A revised copy was published on 9/5/12 on page 5A of The Union-Recorder.