Today I met my new student at the public library nearest to where she lived. I had never been there before, so didn’t know what to expect.
We met just when the library opened, on a work day, thinking NO ONE would be there.
How wrong we were! The parking lot was FULL fifteen minutes before the library opened; young parents were there with their children; senior citizens were waiting to get in and use the computers; job seekers were waiting to use the resources there. How did I know this? I observe people and listen well. Furthermore, once the library opened I saw where they went and what they were doing.
When I was in graduate school the first time, I worked at a local library. It was one of my favorite jobs ever. That library was so busy with job seekers, senior citizens, students, parents, children–extremely busy. I wondered if a public library would be so busy anymore, with people using the internet at home.
That question has been answered.
This library? Study rooms. Glass walls and ceilings to let in natural light. Vending machines with coffee and snacks. Books, books, books and so many other materials.
This is what I noticed in my short time there.
And the hours? This library is open 72 hours a week!
Not all public libraries are so fortunate, so beautiful, so accessible. Which is a shame, since it appears people need and use their public libraries for a variety of purposes. This library is not in a wealthy area, but it is in an area that supports its library and voted a few years ago to increase their own taxes to update and improve the library. This town also has some factories which pay taxes, so they are indeed fortunate to be able to afford this great library.
Lesson learned today? Support your local public libraries, America! They are a great investment.
Thanks for reading.