Archive for August, 2011

The Library as Place

Monopoly at the Library

Monopoly at the Library

I haven’t written a blog for a few months.  I would open up an empty document and stare blankly at the screen for a few minutes.  Summer Reading consumed my time, energy, and brain capacity.  I held 54 programs at the Aiken Library in June and July.  There were storytimes, family nights, afternoon specials, young adult programs and Paws to Read with our wonderful therapy dog group.  The total attendance for all of these programs was 2,154.  This makes me wonder, “Is the e-book really replacing the need for libraries?”

I don’t have my head buried in the sand.  I know that formats are changing.  If the book market never changed then publishers would be carving  symbols out of stone tablets and only the wealthy would be able to read.   I get that.  But I do believe there are things that won’t change: 

1. People need free access to books, Internet, word processing, programming, and air conditioning.   The library can provide all of those things.

2. Librarians select quality books, websites, magazines, and other media for their patrons.

3. Librarians inspire children, teens, and adults to read through storytimes, book clubs, reader’s advisory, and other programming.   Videos and e-books cannot perform story time.  Current research shows that video is not the most effective way for children to learn in the first year of life.   Which would you rather see, children staring blankly at a screen or a librarian linking hands with children for Ring- Around-the-Rosie?

4. People need someone to talk to.  Sometimes people come to the library  because they need human contact.  They get that when they ask a question, check out a book, bump into a neighbor, or come to a program.

5. Librarians are proponents of intellectual freedom.  

Morris Museum Visits Nancy Carson Library

A Library Visit with the Morris Museum of Art

I’ll leave you with an anecdote from the Nancy Carson Library in North Augusta.  Renee Burton held a teen program without any technology in June. During the program Renee showed the teens how to make candy sushi and paint calligraphy.  Usually a handful of teens show up for programs at the library. This time 30 teenagers showed up and she had to shoo them out the door at the end of the program.

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