Thursday, December 22, 2011
Rural Libraries and their Communities
2. Patrons are flocking to their local libraries to use the Internet. Whether for homework or genealogy research, social media or even job hunting, the use of library computers has exploded. People who have not visited a library in a while will be surprised to see numerous computers in use by patrons.
3. Job seekers are using the library to find employment, build resumes and even learn job skills. Online classes and databases are available to use for those seeking to learn new skills.
7. The personality of the librarian and staff is important. People come to know and respect the librarian who has recommended books or taught them in a community education class. A librarian becomes a resource for parents and a friend to children who visit.
8. Many elected officials and other funders do not have library cards. Libraries rely on funding from many sources, not the least of which is often the small town or county in which they are located. If these policy makers are not library users and advocates they may not understand the role the library plays in the community.
9. Technology has made a dramatic change in libraries. In 1996, only 28 percent of libraries offered Internet access. Today almost every library offers this service. Consider the implications of e-books, e-readers and online services in general and the impact it is making in the way people get information.
10. Libraries are safe places. Libraries are places where nobody asks why a patron checks out a certain book or needs a certain service.
Gone are the days when a person went to the local library to do nothing more than check out a book and return it or renew it later. Small town libraries have become a provider of numerous services to their communities. Their future will be one of expanding those services even more. The communities that support those services will have a more vibrant, educated and engaged population.
Michele, Children's Librarian