Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Gena Bigler: Local library still magical place with great resources – glad I rediscovered it
I have an addiction to books. If bookstores gave frequent flier miles, I would be a world traveler.
I love the way they way they look on a shelf. I love the heft of a hardback. I love the way the pages yellow with age. I can’t get enough of them. I even love e-books. They are not quite as romantic as a paper book, but the convenience of carrying an entire library everywhere I go is brilliant. Also, the backlit iPad reader is perfect for late-night reading.
Recently I rediscovered this amazing place with access to millions of books and great service – the local library. It has a great selection ranging from reference materials to the latest best-sellers, and they let me take books home. They even have children’s books, movies, music and comics (graphic novels for geeks). The service rivals the best bookstores. And it’s all free! Unless, of course, like me you default on your contract and keep things longer than your agreed upon time, in which case you are required to pay a nominal fine for your transgression.
I grew up going to the library and loved it. I remember walking to library with my kindergarten class. It was special and fun. It felt so grown up to go the library with classmates. My class compared our books and proudly carried them back to our classroom. It was one of our first forays into personal responsibility. I also remember my mother banning me from the library for misplacing books. Keeping track of my own library books was a condition of returning to the library.
Somehow over the years, I forgot the magic of the library. Instead, I fulfilled my book craving at expensive bookstores with expensive (but delicious) coffee shops or cafes. I bought ridiculous amounts of novels that would be read once and shelved, doomed to be covered in dust on the tippy-top shelf well out of sight.
Some books I will still buy. I need to own them, to make notes in them, underline passages and reread them. Some books I will borrow from the public library. Some books, I will buy and donate to my local library. I can’t believe that I forgot about this amazing resource.
The public library has evolved with the times and provides Internet access and computer access for the community. They even provide language software to help you learn a foreign language. Most libraries have volunteers to help with tax preparation.
I checked my local library and found a wide range of free programs. Each week there is a story hour for babies and a different story hour for older children. There are book groups, Pokemon clubs for kids, movies, karaoke and genealogy study groups. There are intro classes for things such as yoga and gardening. I taught an intro to HypnoBirthing class at my local library.
Most libraries have community rooms available for nonprofits and local groups to use. Many clubs get started by using the free resources the library provides. Some libraries have a database of grant providers for nonprofits. Some libraries offer help with your resume or writers’ groups. Most libraries also offer some basic computer classes. The local library calendar is a treasure map of free interesting clubs and events.
The public library is a wonderful community resource and I am grateful to have rediscovered it. My children love the library at least as much as I did as a child. I hope the love of books grows and that they both continue a long learning relationship with this special place.
Here are links to area libraries … check yours out!
Lexington Public Library
Woodford County Library
Jessamine County Public Library
Clark County Public Library
Scott County Public Library
Paris-Bourbon County Public Library
Madison County Public Library
Paul Sawyier Public Library (Frankfort)
Gena Bigler is passionate about public service and credits her time serving nonprofits in AmeriCorps and Volunteers in Service to America (V.I.S.T.A.) with teaching her extreme budgeting and bargain shopping. Gena is now CFO of a Kentucky business and serves on the board of the Kentucky RiverKeeper. Gena would be happy to hear from you at email@example.com.