In addition to the ton of other things I do, I also volunteer at my local library for a kids’ reading enrichment program.
For one hour after school, children from kindergarten to about third grade come for directed reading enrichment activities – and afterward they get to select a book to take home and keep forever. It’s pretty cool.
This regular time I spend assisting the library has me thinking about all of the library closures I read about more and more these days. It distresses me to think such places may begin to vanish.
In addition to providing free book loans to the community, libraries offer much more: computer and Internet access, assistance with filling out various documents, guidance for research, and free courses, groups, and activities for people of all ages (such as the enrichment program where I volunteer).
The ones who will suffer the most from a closed library are the people on tight budgets who need free access to valuable information. The rest of the community will eventually suffer, as well.
Let’s see. Is there anyone in the following cities who might make good use of a public library?
… there are so many more.
What can be done? Is this an inevitable change that will require communities to somehow adjust? Or is the general public gravely misunderstanding the important role that libraries play in maintaining literacy, both digital and otherwise? What is the future of libraries?