A Library’s Purpose
Libraries are more than just books and old ladies telling you to be quiet. In fact, librarians can be the source of the ruckus! Just visit a library during a children’s program to see what I mean.
The basic idea of the library is a place to hold and obtain information. Sounds boring, doesn’t it? But libraries today are filled with activities of all types that are both informative and fun. The purpose of the library has morphed into a type of community learning center.
Most libraries have children’s programs where there are arts and crafts, science experiments, stories, and music. Libraries also offer family and adult programs that reach beyond the book club with hobby classes, gardening workshops, game night, jam sessions, and more. Where can you go learn how to etch a vase and find information on wildcrafting herbs? The library!
Libraries are also often the source of community-wide events that take over an entire park. In the small town where I live, our library has put on a tractor and truck event where everyone was able to see and explore fire trucks, a SWAT assault vehicle, police cars, front loaders, backhoes, and more.
The local police department also demonstrated how a K-9 officer found items and people. Our library sometimes has family movie nights, after-hours nerf gun wars, and live birds of prey demonstrations. Our library is also a safe place for children to stay after school until their parents get off work. The librarians are caring and helpful, and frankly, have the patience of angels.
The librarians are a fantastic resource for anything you want to explore. Did you know most librarians have a Masters Degree? They are taught how to locate obscure information, identify community needs, and teach new technologies.
Kathryn Bergeron says, “We’re not just there to help you find books. We can help you find out business competitor data in the tri-county area. We can help you research doctors for your new diagnosis. We can help you pick out a video game gift for your youngest nephew. We are here to help with everything.”
Go ahead, ask your librarian anything! Chances are, they can find the answer or at least point you in the right direction.
Things you can do at a library*:
- Check out a book, movie, or video game.
- Learn a new skill
- Research anything. Seriously, anything!
- Pick up tax forms (some even have free preparation help for people with low-income)
- Learn how to use computer programs
- Get help with homework
- Look for a job
- Spruce up your resume with expert help from a librarian
- Play a board game
- Check out discovery kits — a premade kit of themed books, craft ideas, games, DVD’s, or other items to learn or teach something new.
- Download free music
- Obtain gardening seeds
- Check out science equipment like microscopes and pH meters
- Check out small tools or household appliances
- Join a club — book clubs, crafting clubs, science clubs, and more can be found at the library.
Libraries are definitely community hubs and provide unique services for free or very little cost. They have a large variety of resources, events, and activities to help you and serve the community. The purpose of a library has expanded and continues to grow to meet the needs of its patrons. So, before you think a library nothing but books and shushing, go visit one and discover all the amazing things you can do!
*Not all services are available at all libraries.