Valuable Resources–Support Public Libraries!

LIBRARY      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.

Day 1 Adult Literacy Training Completed

Fantastic job by Literacy DuPage, part of Pro Literacy America. Professional. Cordial. Encouraging.

One interesting fact that came out is that several of the future tutors wish to tutor to WELCOME immigrants to America. To combat the negativeness of the tone toward immigrants. To let them know we welcome them.

We get matched with a student next week. Then two more training sessions until we are official literacy tutors.

We even get an official tote bag and card to identify ourselves at libraries where we will tutor.

Oh. These are all volunteers.

Well done. Well done. Seeing a positive side of this beloved America. I know there’s greatness there in her people.

More to follow. I’m exhausted!

Thanks for reading.

Part 3–Literacy can be the Bridge: in Praise of Public Libraries

cropped-be-creative-creative-creativity-256514      Getting to there from here? How does one change careers while still paying the bills?  This was a true dilemma for me, for there was no trust fund, no rainy day forgotten account, no family to turn to once I quit my job in business.

This is a nice problem to have, and I know that.  It reeks of privilege, and I know that.  Yet I was a healthy adult with so much energy, and I knew I wanted a different type of life than working in an office.  I did not turn to drink, but I turned to sadness.  I turned to tension. Those are not healthy.

Since I loved to read and write, I turned to the public library and was amazed to find the library had become a hub of activity.  The library was not a quiet place as I remembered it, but a place of reading groups, tutoring, computer training, and so much more–in addition to having quiet places for reading and studying.

I wonder if librarians know they have helped to improve the lives of many?  For that is what I saw daily as people looked for jobs, learned a new skill, found positive activities for themselves and their family.

I found the world of book discussion groups, and never looked back. Like-minded reading lovers–what a joy!

And more–the library was looking for literacy tutors and I wanted to become a teacher.  Would I dare to take that risk, even while I was so very sad in my everyday world?  It almost seemed too difficult to risk change and then have the change not work out.

Would I take the risk and make changes?

More to follow.