When was the last time you used your library card? In a world where free ebooks are readily available and you can use Google to find information on basically anything, a local library can seem somewhat obsolete. But what’s often forgotten is that libraries offer so much more than books on a shelf.
These are just a few of the reasons why libraries play a vital role in communities:
- They are cultural hubs. Libraries offer a public space in which community members can gather to interact and exchange ideas.
- They help lower the unemployment rate. Most libraries offer free high-speed internet access, allowing patrons to conduct job searches. Many also provide assistance with resume writing, interviewing and even acquiring basic computer skills.
- They serve as the “people’s university.” Whether someone never had the opportunity for higher education or they simply want to expand their knowledge base, libraries offer textbooks and other resources that can often only be found at other universities.
- They serve as a link between government and citizens. Most libraries help people to understand and use government websites, complete E-government forms and apply for E-government services.
- They are important sources for youth development. Children’s reading groups, tutoring services and other important programs promote quality childhood education.
So how can you help?
- Make a donation. For every $1,000 donated, libraries can receive 179 library visits, circulate 2680 free materials, train 12 patrons through a library program and issue library cards and provide services for 20 new library patrons.
- Volunteer. In most public libraries, anyone over the age of 14 can volunteer. There’s a myriad of activities you can participate in, including everything from reading to young children to staffing bookmobiles.