It’s National Library Week! Local libraries across the nation will celebrate in various ways all week.
When I was a kid, I devoured books … the library was one of my favorite places. Books took me around the world and introduced me to other centuries and lifestyles, to history and geography, and to my favorite – biographies.
When educating my children at home for 16 years, the local library was like another room of our house. The kids not only loaded down LL Bean bags full of books, but they also participated in summer reading programs and other offerings.
National Library Week was first held in 1958 as a country-wide observance highlighting the role of libraries in our communities, with a different theme each year. This year’s theme is, “There’s more to the story.”
While many still think of libraries mainly as a depository for books, there is much more behind those walls, and perhaps the most impressive is that libraries have remained viable in the age of computers and the internet.
My local library has a section of cake pans that can be checked out. If your child wants a Ninja Turtle birthday cake, there’s no need to buy an expensive baking pan. Instead, check it out of the library! There’s also a seed library … check out a packet of seeds, plant them, and if possible, when the plant is grown, return some seeds to the library for the next patron. In an extraordinary partnership with the Augusta County Genealogical Society, there is a collection of local and family histories for public use right there at the library.
In Staunton, there is the Talking Book Center that provides free audio books for patrons who are blind, print disabled, or need audio for other reasons such as the older population who may have declining eyesight. In a city that houses the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind, it should be no surprise this offering is very popular. They also offer the free use of braille eReaders.
But books and talking books are not all that are offered in today’s libraries. Each library differs in their offerings, but they may include computer use, musical instruments, games, CDs, and movies. There are meeting rooms for use by the community; library staff offers story time, movie nights, homework help, and much more. If you haven’t been to the library in a while, stop by and see what they have to offer.
Thank you to the librarians, staff, and volunteers who make it possible for us to continue to utilize this valuable resource today because, in 2023, the library isn’t just books anymore!
Happy National Library Week!