Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Public Library

It's not your Grandma's library.

Gone are the days of austere silence, shelves that hold only scholarly tomes, adult patrons, and an elderly librarian with glasses worn low on her nose and a bun fastened tightly to the back of her head.

Today's librarians are young and energetic, providing story times, book clubs and other programs for children.

Today's librarians are talented as story tellers, puppeteers, clowns, artists and musicians.

Today's librarians are information specialists. Is there something you want to know about? Ask a librarian. He or she can show you where to find the information you need.

Today's librarians are genealogists. They believe that a step backwards is a good thing and they can help you find your roots.

Today's librarians are computer geeks. Most libraries have free wifi access and computers with Internet and programs for visitors to use.

Today's librarians serve older patrons as well. There are mobile book vans that deliver materials to home-bound people and special programs designed just for golden guys and gals.

Today's libraries have more than just books, although the books are still the finest part of the collection. You can check out a movie, a CD, a computer program, an audio book, e-books, and sometimes the equipment to use these items.

Today's libraries house a wealth of information in books, government documents, artifacts and databases. Did you know you can find out how to fix your car, how to install a washing machine, how to landscape your yard, how to pick the right pet...

If you want it, check first at the public library. Chances are, if they don't have it, they can Inter-Library Loan it from another library for you.

I'm not the only one shouting accolades for public libraries. Read what others have to say:

Libraries are community treasure chests, loaded with a wealth of information available to everyone equally, and the key to that treasure chest is the library card. I have found the most valuable thing in my wallet is my library card. ~ First Lady Laura Bush

I used to go to the library all the time when I was kid. As a teenager, I got a book on how to write jokes at the library, and that, in turn, launched my comedy career. ~ Comedian Drew Carey.

The public library is a great equalizer. ~ Musician Keith Richards

Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest. ~ Lady Bird Johnson

It's funny that we think of libraries as quiet demure places where we are shushed by dusty, bun-balancing, bespectacled women. The truth is libraries are raucous clubhouses for free speech, controversy and community. Librarians have stood up to the Patriot Act, sat down with noisy toddlers and reached out to illiterate adults. Libraries can never be shushed. ~ Comedian and author Paula Poundstone, national spokesperson for Friends of Libraries U.S.A.

Amen Sister!

What do you love about your public library?


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