P is for Public Library

P is for of my favorite places on Earth, the public library. Where else can ANYONE have access to computers, the internet, reference assistance, a variety of movies and audio books,programs for children and adults, playspace for the young children, newspapers and periodicals, people to offer reader's advisory and so many books! The BOOKS people!! So many to choose from, and if the one you want is checked out you can put a hold on it and they will coll (or email) you when it is ready for you. If your library doesn't own it (and it is not brand new) they can get it for you from another library. All of this for FREE unless you return something late. Where else do you get this kind of service? I will never understand the people that do not utilize at least one public library, because you can use any one in your state for free as long as you get a card for the town you live in first.

Public libraries have been my home away from home since I was very young. I can still remember the cool circular window I used to sit in and read as a child. Unfortunately that window disappeared in a renovation to allow for more book space, but I loved that window. I loved my childhood library so much that four towns later and more years than I care to mention I now work in the same library I spent my Elementary School years in.

I will never understand the push to limit funding to libraries and the services they offer. People use the library to search for and apply for jobs, for access to things they might no longer be able to afford to buy for themselves. A place to stay warm/cool/dry in bad weather, a safe place to lose themselves in the written word, or just have a quiet place to sit and think. There is just something wonderful about a library. A feeling of peace, but maybe that is just me. I spent two hours working at the children's desk yesterday. First day of school vacation with programs and everything going on. Even in the chaos surrounding me, it seemed peaceful. Not quiet, but still somehow peaceful.

How much do you love your public library? If you haven't been there in a while, go for a visit and remind yourself how wonderful they are, because if federal and state government funding keep shrinking they will be less wonderful in the future. For instance, if Connecticut stops funding for the CCAR program, Connecticut residents can say goodbye to inter library loans, returning books to libraries other than where they came from, and any other service that involves transporting materials between libraries.
Check out your library, join their friends organization, and support them through advocacy to the local government if you want to keep them. Most are already running on minimum staff and budget. If you complain that they do not have enough copies of your favorites, then it is probably because their budget has been slashed to the point where they CANNOT afford to buy more than the bare minimum of desired materials.

I will now climb down off my librarian soap box and get to reading down the stack of books and my collection of galleys awaiting me.
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