Libraries and their Communities: They’re Interconnected
November 19, 2018- AWE Learning Staff
During this time of gratitude around the holiday season, reflect upon the importance of the public library within the community. When many people think of the library, they imagine checking out books for, including but not limited to, personal use or academic enjoyment. Nevertheless, libraries provide extra resources, services, and planned programming. Libraries can be categorized as ‘third places’, a term that refers to places where people spend time between home (‘first place’) and work (‘second place’). These locations are where we exchange ideas, have a good time, and build relationships.
Public libraries exist in all types of communities: urban, suburban, and rural neighborhoods. Libraries are viewed as important institutions; their staff has taken on roles and responsibilities beyond simply lending out books to visitors. Their role influences library programming and events, and in many cases this results in providing advice and connections to health, housing, literacy, and other areas.
Welcoming all individuals, public libraries are free spaces that allow everyone to feel safe and find opportunity. Libraries provide resources for enjoyment, but also computer and internet access, job application and resume building help, and much more…all free of charge! From programming such as story time for toddlers, resume building workshops, and computer skills, libraries provide digital learning tools, resources, tutorials, and events that are catered to individuals of all ages, backgrounds, languages, and educational levels.
The United States is a very diverse country; individuals come from all over the world looking for opportunity. Nevertheless, many come without knowing the English language. Public libraries provide English Language Learners with the chance to immerse themselves in English in order to learn the language. Libraries provide multilingual books for adults and children to help them master the language in an engaging manner. Additionally, to create a more inclusive environment, libraries are expanding their collections of foreign language books to provide books for every kind of reader, despite their native language.
It is evident that libraries and their communities are interconnected. Libraries may not exist without the support of their communities, and individuals within a community may not get the resources they need without the support and services of their libraries. With the growth of technology in our world, libraries have grown beyond just lending out books to visitors. They have become a place for people to gather, learn, study, be innovative, take classes such as yoga or computer skills, prepare for a job interview, and much more. Furthermore, with the popularity of e-readers, libraries have also adapted and allow library cardholders to check out an e-book and download it directly to their e-reader. Call your local library and see what events and workshops they have to offer!