Six Ways to Show You Love Your Library

Heather at Portland Public Library

Heather visits the moose at the Portland Public Library in Maine. (Photo by Jathan Fink, Jadeworks Entertainment)

Last week may have been National Library Week, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t show love to your local library the other fifty-one weeks of the year. Whether you’re a bibliophile who knows each librarian by name or someone who hasn’t stepped into a library since catalogs were in a big wooden chest with thousands of index cards inside, here are some ways to make the most of your local library now. 

Story time

Children gather at libraries each week for story time. (Photo by Joe Utsler, Flickr)

Take a child to story time.

Most libraries, whether big or small, feature tons of programming geared to kids of all ages. Little ones can listen to their favorite librarians read children’s stories like Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and Lyle, Lyle, CrocodileThey may also learn how to make fun and imaginative crafts such as kaleidoscopes or funny umbrellas for lessons on rain. And sometimes there are even puppet shows or movies for the kiddos to enjoy as well. When children attend these events, they come away from them having learned how to check books in and out, and they will always identify the library as a fun and educational place where their imaginations can run wild. Best of all, they develop a lifelong love of reading!

David Baldacci book signing

David Baldacci meets a fan during a book signing at Darien Library in Connecticut. (Photo by Darien Library, Flickr)

Attend a class, lecture or cultural event.

What lots of folks fail to realize is that today’s libraries are so much more than just shelves of books. Most of them offer classes that are free and open to the public. Patrons can learn to how to use computer programs, get assistance with their taxes, or learn English as a second language. Community leaders frequently give lectures on hot topics, such as what to do in case of a mass shooting or disaster preparedness. Then there are fun cultural events like book signings, concerts, games, and even karaoke nights. The possibilities are endless!

Computer class

Volunteers teach free computer classes at the Waltham Public Library. (Photo by walthampubliclibrary, Flickr)

Utilize the plethora of online resources available.

In most cases, your tax dollars, federal and state grants, and even charitable contributions, make loads of online resources available to the public to use for free. Want to learn about your family tree? Some libraries now offer access to sites like Ancestry.com. Looking for a great movie to watch? Stream one through your smartphone, tablet, or computer with services like Hoopla. Want the new Adele album? Download it on Freegal for free! And now, even if all you want to do is read, you have instant access to downloadable books right on your e-reader, sometimes as soon as it’s published.

Tutoring

Volunteers do everything from tutor students to shelve books. (Photo by NJLA, Flickr)

Volunteer at the library.

Although some libraries are fortunate enough to employ a large staff, others do well to keep their doors open due to reduced funding. Either way, your local library can use your help! Volunteers can work with the local Friends of the Library organization to promote programs, pull in money from book sales and other fundraisers, help set up for events, run a booth at the local farmers market, provide tutoring help, or simply help shelve books. Talk to a library employee to find out more information or visit your library’s website for new opportunities to pitch in.

Get social!

Let’s face it, you’re already on social media. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat or any of the other new channels that keep popping up, you have a following on at least one of them. So why not use your power for good and help promote your library? Take pictures of yourself at library events, with your favorite library book, or even with your favorite librarian. Posting these photos will remind your friends and followers of all the ways they could be using their library that they may have forgotten about.

Board books

Library employees love receiving thanks, almost as much as they love getting hugs! (Photo by Milton Ma Public Library, Flickr)

Thank a librarian. 

You may not realize it, but the staff at your local library works tirelessly on your behalf each and every day. They plan programs, write grant proposals, host book clubs and story times, answer reference questions, and make sure your books, movies and music CDs are covered, cataloged, tagged, shelved, reserved, and held for you to pick up at your convenience. Be sure to tell them how much you appreciate their hard work. Believe me, a word of thanks goes a long way, and a hug will go even farther!

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About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

One Response to Six Ways to Show You Love Your Library

  1. Jathan Fink says:

    Reblogged this on Jadeworks Entertainment and commented:

    Do you use your library as much as you could? Did you know they host book signings, concerts, lectures and more? Our editors highlight six ways you can get more out of your membership and show how much you love your library!

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