How Libraries Are Being Forced to Adapt
The Dewey Decimal system and looking up where the book I wanted could possibly be often caused me to hesitate visiting the local library. You know the system – a large daunting box filled with cue cards and the number on each card corresponded to your book of preference. It was almost like we all needed our Masters of Library studies just to find the newest Harlan Coben release.
Libraries Have Moved On
Now everything is different and kids of this generation will look at us funny when we mention this now seemingly archaic system. In place of the large cabinet containing the codes there are 3D printers, board games, and community rooms are converted to escape, music and craft rooms. Magnificent buildings and knowledgeable staff are working hard at ensuring everyone in the community knows the local library has something for everyone.
With authors offering free books through Amazon’s KDP Select, so much online content Encyclopedias are now a thing of the past and people over scheduling themselves into having no time to read, libraries are left struggling or forced to adapt. Change is often a good thing and the resources most libraries are branching off to ensure they are keeping up with the times.
Appeal to More Than Just Reading
Physical literacy is now so important to our communities and libraries seem to be leading the charge. With your library card you are encouraged to borrow outdoor games such as croquet, skipping ropes and balls to share with your classmates or family. Physical Literacy Kits are popular among kids but can, and should, be used by anyone who is young at heart.
Mental illness is such a tragedy that can be avoided by taking advantage of resources your local library has to offer. Being able to toss a bean bag around outside, borrow a book or simply meet a friend in a quiet safe place can go a long way in your health and well-being.
Budget cuts across the country are motivating librarians to think outside of their brick and mortar by inviting senior’s to meet for a walk or bike, kids to sing and dance and everyone to come listen to local bands or see art.
Connecting With Community
Being creative with what libraries offer is just another amazing aspect of the job. While the financial support dwindles and bookshelves sometimes seem emptier, buildings are compensated with smiles and hope. Kids coming into Lego club, senior’s signing up to learn how to use a computer, and yes, people looking to fax something or just simply have a chat.
Libraries offer a wonderful community space that is often free to use and easily inspires creativity. When it’s too cold or rainy to relax outside you can arrange to meet a friend or simply sit in peace.
We are all forced to adapt every day in both small and momentous ways. Libraries now offer more digital services through ebook lending (Overdrive), 3D printer access, computer courses and some offer free access to online education programs if they sign up for a free library card. On top of this, despite the growth of ebooks printed books still dominate the market and while many are purging to live more simply, what better way than to trust a massive book collection in your local library?
Libraries Being Eliminated
Many public schools are cutting back their own resources and eliminating their own in house libraries arguing that so much information can be found online for free. If we don’t encourage the love of books with our children, many say they smell better than and don’t need charging like electronic books, who will? The community librarians and libraries are needing to make up for where others lack and are doing it with grace and a commitment not seen very often these days.
The Present Day Libraries
Makerspaces are designed in libraries to get kids imagining and sometimes even being louder than you’d expect. My own local library hosts book launches for local authors, has an artist studio they invite local artists of any kind to use and are open to hosting any event that fits within their ever expanding criteria.
Libraries are regularly hosting workshops for all ages teaching of the history of their community, inviting enthusiasts to talk about what they know from the life cycle of butterflies right up to the artifact they found in their garden.
All this to say, libraries are no longer the stale quiet place you go only to study for school or to write a dreaded paper. Public libraries are adapting to your needs and providing many more services all can enjoy and if it’s not on the schedule now, just ask, you never know how they will adapt in the future.