February is for Lovers - Library Lovers, that is!
by Kim Green-Spangler
Do you remember the day that you got your first library card? That is typically a monumental day in many a young child's life. The day that they're grown up enough to be entrusted with their very own library card. A "coming of age" in their young lives. Brings back fond memories.
February is the month devoted to lovers of all kinds - including Library Lovers. A month devoted to supporting local libraries and their staff. Can you think of ways to show your local library the love?
Commit to volunteer some time each month, or several times per year. Most libraries are operating on ever-tightening budgets which results in smaller than optimum staffs. An extra pair of hands for a couple of hours a week could do wonders. Perhaps you'd like to volunteer your time through a weekly story hour. What a wonderful way for a stay at home mom to participate in the community while socializing with other moms of children of a similar age. Perhaps providing support through tutoring for the literacy campaign is a better fit. Whatever amount time you'd like to dedicate will benefit your local library community. Perhaps you'd like to join your local Friends of the Library chapter, of start one if one is not already in existence.
Donate gently used books to your local library. Those that are not put into circulation will be used for library fundraisers. The Friends of the Library will typically host an annual book sale with proceeds going back to the library coffers. So clean out your bookshelves or host your own book drive and donate all collections.
Donate a magazine subscription to the local library. A library can always use more periodicals. If you're unsure about what to purchase, send them a check for a subscription, or call and ask what they may be lacking. When in doubt send a check. That way your library can make sure funds will go exactly where they are needed most.
If you have connections, you can benefit your library by raising local awareness. Help keep your library funded. Contact news editors, local legislature, education administrators, and the local community and help them understand the difficulties facing libraries. Most are not aware of the troubles that plague local libraries until they have been slated to be closed, in essence, when it is too late. Stay involved. Libraries have been around for centuries, but the first known public circulating library was opened in Peterborough, New Hampshire in 1833. However it took until 1849 for laws to be passed for it to be approved to be fully funded through local taxes.
Libraries provide a haven for many. It's a place for children learn about a seemingly infinite number of subjects, occupations and a multitude of other subjects. It's a place where young adults can learn to use the computer and do homework after school. It's used by college students who need a fresh supply of resources, as many college professors assign the same projects to multiple classes and college libraries get picked over. The local library serves people from every walk of life, from the youngest in their first story time circle to grandparents who have learned how to use the computer to email their new family addition.
Support your local library this February during Library Lovers Month. It is a valuable resource to your entire community.
• American Library Association
• Banned Books Week
• Raising a Reader: The Do's and Don'ts
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