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Celebrate Library Lovers Month

February is Library Lovers Month and it is a time “for everyone, especially library support groups, to recognize the value of libraries and to work to assure that the Nation’s libraries will continue to serve.”

Being a librarian is not what makes me love libraries, loving libraries and all they offer is what made me become a librarian. Since my first library card as preschooler to present, I have been hooked on libraries!

express checkout I can only smile, broadly, when a person tells me the self checkout machines are going to put me out of a job because I know what he does not know: all libraries do in a day, month, year!

No, many libraries are not the quiet places of yesteryear, we are the community’s living room. We are full of your neighbors talking on their phones, kids gathering after school, toddlers babbling, tutoring, laptop users utilizing the wi-fi and people just hanging out!

Every day, we issue new library cards and if we are lucky have one minute of a patron’s attention to rattle through library services and features. Libraries are so much more than a collection books, CDs, DVDs or software to checkout, a source of answers or computers to use.

We introduce patrons to the library catalog, which we know for older people is not the card catalog and for younger ones, it is not Google. The catalog is its own awesome thing that can accessed both in the library and from any Internet-enabled computer. From within most catalogs, one can request materials from other locations in the library system, renew materials and check fine amounts.

We teach patrons that whether it is Dewey Decimal or Library of Congress, a call number is the key to finding an item [love this Party Girl clip].

We instruct patrons on how to use databases so they can access Consumer Reports, journal articles, literary criticisms and auto repair manuals. Some times, we even provide the password so you can access them from home (and if we slip you our phone number, don’t get too excited, it is just because we know you are going to call us to walk you through your search strategy).

Systems like the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County produce RSS feeds for news, employment and new items. At the same time I am catching up on blogs, I am placing new items on hold/request for pick at my favorite branch. It is like shopping online, without the payment.

Public libraries are using Twitter to share news and events information. Almost all public libraries offer book group, programs and events from baby to older adult. At least four of the five libraries in the Cincinnati area and Northern Kentucky offer Wii for Seniors.

studyroomWe offer study areas and meeting space open for public, nonprofit use, like partnering with the AARP and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), which provide tax assistance.

Some libraries partner with the local arts, offer museum passes and have unique collections, like cake pans for loan.

With people experiencing job loss, we have not only seen an uptick in circulation but computer usage. Though we offer scheduled computer classes, every day there is demand for librarians to provide one-on-one computer assistance. All we take for granted because we know how to ctrl+alt+delete, find a web site, write an email or post on Twitter is foreign to many of the patrons we meet each day. We introduce them to Word because last time they typed a resume, it was on a typewriter. We walk them through signing up for a free, web-based email account and remind it is their responsibility to remember their password (not ours nor do we want to know it!). We help retirees understand that even for a job as a cashier or bagger, they will have to fill out an online application.

So while we may let a machine checkout your materials, it is so we can focus on doing so much more. As a library user turned Librarian, libraries are worth every penny just use Value of Library Service Calculator developed by Massachusetts Library Association to see.

If you are a library employee, toot your horn in the comments about what your library offers that makes it unique and part of your community. If you are a library user, leave me a comment about what you love about your library or how much value are you getting from your library. If you are not a library user, make plans to visit yours soon and find out what you have been missing!

Visit Hooked on Houses to see what others are hooked on.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Deana February 20, 2009, 12:51 pm

    Dewey Decimal & Card Catalog…. takes me right back to grade school… 🙂

    Well, I became re-introduced to the library when I began raising a child with a love for reading. It was a proud moment for her when she got her library card. She loves visiting the school library & the public library.

    I can see from your post that there’s a lot we’ve yet to uncover at the library, but can only assume we’ll get to it eventually! 🙂

    You are BUSY!

    Deana’s last blog post..Creating with cute packaging…

  • Julia @ Hooked on Houses February 20, 2009, 2:20 pm

    Oh, boy, are you speaking my language with this post! I am totally hooked on libraries. Always have been. I go at least once a week. The library staff knows me by name. 🙂

    It changed my life when they put everything online so I can now search for materials from home and request what I need–they’re there waiting for me when I get there. Also makes it easy to renew things that I’m not finished with yet.

    When my kids were little, I took advantage of every reading program and storytime hour they had there. Kind of miss those days. *sniff*

    Anyway, loved this post. I think they should publish it in the library newsletter or website or something. I think there are a lot of people who don’t know how great libraries are these days and how much they’ve changed.

    Julia @ Hooked on Houses’s last blog post..Hooked on Dutch Doors

  • Gigi February 20, 2009, 4:46 pm

    I LOVE the library! My family has heard my oft-repeated stump speech about how public libraries are the best part of our society, etc. etc. I echo what Julia said above about searching the library online and placing holds. I love getting those emails saying I have books waiting for me. Best of all is the renewal service online. If I ever do have a library fine, I pay it with gratitude for all of the wonderful materials and services I have received. The librarians pull my books when they see me coming in the door, and always have a friendly greeting. It’s just great, and I am SUCH an advocate for utilizing the public library system.
    Thanks for the post!

    Gigi’s last blog post..Scrabble: Not Just For Game Night

  • Gayle February 24, 2009, 9:53 pm

    Oh, how I love this post! Visiting the library has always been one of favorite things to do ever since I was little. Even now, when I walk into our library, I feel so happy being amongst all those books. So many possibilities! I introduced my children to our library when they were very little. Thank you for a great post!

    Gayle’s last blog post..Happy Birthday to My Sixteen Year Old!