Thursday, October 12, 2017

Library = Sanctuary

There has been a lot in the news lately about sanctuary cities.  The idea of creating places for people from all walks of life to go to when they need a safe haven.  Some call them a hiding place for those bent on breaking the law.  While the debate for "funding" such cities goes on, a quieter and less controversial option has been in play for sometime.

Since this month's topic is libraries, I though I'd talk a bit about the changes I've noticed in our public libraries.   Public libraries have long been  places of refuge and quiet. As a child, I often spent after school hours sitting in a chair at my local library, reading the latest magazines, and checking out some books to take home. 
Typical, traditional, library activities.

While my own children were young, we'd visit the library for story time, crafts and special programs meant to entertain and educate.  Libraries are still doing these kinds of things.  But, I've also noticed that some libraries have become sanctuaries of their own.  Places for the homeless to spend their afternoons surfing the web or reading newspapers.  A quiet, and safe place with clean restrooms for washing off a days worth of dirt.  A place where seniors or veterans can take a class in word processing, how to use social media, or creative writing.  A place where you can polish up your resume and do job searches, or send out job applications.  Some bigger, quieter libraries even have lounge areas for resting or napping.  My neighborhood library has beautiful works of art on display by local artists.

Sanctuary.  Which begs the question: Are libraries still relevant in today's high-tech world?  Many schools are eliminating libraries in favor of computer rooms.  Kids don't need libraries when they can get all they need on a smartphone.  Right? 

As I see it, libraries are needed now more than ever.  Maybe you won't visit the library to check out books, since it's more convenient to read them on a Kindle.  And maybe you won't take your kiddos to story time.  But in a world that sometimes feels divisive and overwhelming, I know there is one place where ALL ARE WELCOME.  I'm betting the library won't disappear any time soon.  It will continue to adapt and change to meet the needs of its people.  It will continue to be a sanctuary.   What do you think?


4 comments:

  1. Love the summer reading programs they run and teen groups. Ours even participates in a book club for adults at a local bar. Libraries rock!

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    1. It's exactly those kinds of activities that are important parts of local communities. Libraries DO rock!

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  2. Totally agree. More important than EVER.

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