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Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Changing Role of Libraries

Anyone who still thinks a library is just a boring, stuffy place where you have to be quiet, has not visited the library lately. Libraries are evolving into more of a center for the community.

You can still find a great book at the library, but there is so much more being offered by libraries today. My sister is the local librarian and she is constantly organizing and planning programs for all age groups. The programs provide fun, safe and educational passtimes for the kids especially in the summer when school is out. In our small town this is particularly helpful, since there are not many things for the kids to do during the summer.

The library offers computers with internet access, DVD's for checkout, books on cassette and CD, magazines for all ages, local newspapers and much more. The latest bestsellers are always available for those who love to read.

Most people think a librarian's job is easy and the librarian gets to read a lot. My sister laughs when someone says "I'll bet you get to read a lot!". In fact she hardly ever has time to read a book and certainly never at work.

There are many steps in having a library program. First you have to think of an activity that is appropriate for the age group you are targeting. Then you have to decide the cost and what materials you will need. What is the best time to schedule the program so it doesn't coincide with other activities in the community.

One of the greatest problems, is getting enough volunteers to help make the program a success. Since my sister is the only library employee, she has to rely on volunteers to help with many things. That is how I became a permanent library volunteer. I was sorta of drafted. But I usually enjoy it.

There is also the need for sponsors for some programs. Sponsors provide prizes, refreshments or money to purchase whatever is necessary. Getting sponsors can also be a difficult task.

Our library has had some really great programs. There is Cooks & Books where the participants bring a dish and submit their recipe. The recipes are compiled into a book which everyone at the program receives. This is a yummy program that everyone enjoys.

Gaming tournaments is the newest program. The library has held a Guitar Hero tournament and has recently acquired a Wii. The next tournament will be Rock Band. We are hoping to have a Battle of the Bands, with the kids forming rock bands to compete.

Movie Time is another program the kids like. Two Fridays a month is movie day. A great family movie is shown in the Library Meeting Room. There is a big screen TV for viewing movies and gaming activities.

Every summer the library hosts the Summer Reading Program. Summer Reading has a different theme each year. The program encourages kids to read. There are stories, crafts and refreshments. Along with Summer Reading are special programs such as Magicians, Storytellers and Animal Programs where kids get to learn about and touch different kinds of critters. The Summer Reading program is always kicked off with a Pet Parade. All the kids get to bring their pets to the library lawn. Each pet receives a prize and treats. The kids love this one!

Last year was the first Halloween Fun Night. This is one of my favorites, since I love Halloween. There are games, Fortune Tellers, Scary Stories, Prizes and food. This program requires lots of volunteers and sponsors. The community has been great to support the Halloween Program. This year there will be a Murder Mystery game for the teens. We are hoping that will turn out to be a success.

In addition to all these programs there has been a Cowboy Concert Ice Cream Social, Christmas Giving Tree Program, Computer Classes and Educational Presentations. They are all great programs.

So as you can see if you haven't visited the library lately, you are missing out! Go visit your local library!

Our library has to discard old books to make room for new ones, so sometimes I come across some great finds in the library discards. I have found some rare books that have been pulled from the shelves as well as just some great old books that might be hard to find. When I find these I list them in my store. Check often to see new book finds. Here are some I have listed right now. Check them out.

The Art and Life of W. Herbert Dunton

Sam Snead Golf

Margaret Lea Houston Biography

Artist as Photographer

Lee's Lieutenants

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