Why should one look down on libraries?

Once upon a time libraries were seen as treasure troves, repositories of rare books and an abode for religious groups, scholars and the wealthy.  Indeed, books were regarded as so valuable they had to be chained to lecterns in order to prevent theft. (Thank God for RFID tags now right) 🙂

Yet, with the advancement of technology and the rise of the Google empire, persons rely on their phones, personal computers and other devices to find the information that they require. Thus, some government officials and administrative groups have continued to cut library budgets on an annual basis, even with some libraries eventually closing their doors.

Can you imagine if everyone was plugged in and no one paid attention to anything else, besides what was on their phones and other devices? In my opinion, that would create a socially awkward society, since persons would not be able to relate to others outside of screens. According to Barth, “communication technology is a central fixture within our society and has radically changed individuals’ social interaction, learning strategies and choice of entertainment” (201). Yet, while there can be positives to the use of technology and social networking applications, those in authority shouldn’t undermine the importance of libraries, in comparison to the usage of technology.

In that way libraries can still be regarded as treasure troves, not only of books and other media, but also as a place for one to find unique social experiences.  Which is definitely possible when libraries around the world are able to create out of the box ideas that both engage and inspire others in order to pave the way for success. One such library that I have always admired is the Ann Arbor District Library, which usually has some great initiatives. For example, they recently closed submissions for their annual “It’s All Write” (love the play on words) teen writing contest where teens from different grade levels were asked to submit their short stories, which would be judged by young adult authors. Such an initiative is a great way to motivate young adults to be creative, as well as, brave enough to put their work out there for others to see.

So with the words “It’s All Write” dancing in my head I am hoping that many more government and administrative bodies would see the importance of libraries,  even in the age of technological advancement, and stop keeping those purse strings so tight in order to breather some life into more libraries and aid in producing informed, creative and socially developed individuals.

 

References

Barth, F. (2015). Social Media and Adolescent Development: Hazards, Pitfalls and Opportunities for Growth. Clinical Social Work Journal, 43(2), 201-208. doi:10.1007/s10615-014-0501-6

 

Posted in Status of Libraries | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Libraries are so cool…

Imagine my surprise on learning recently that one can check out a dog at the library! To me a well-known animal lover (who would say Awww! even if I saw a baby iguana…although I am not fond of frogs and snakes) I would absolutely love if my public library offered patrons a chance to borrow a dog or cat for a few minutes. Of course, animals are not self-sufficient and they would require persons to see to their upkeep and general well-being, but nevertheless, that is a totally cool idea. 🙂

Oftentimes libraries really need to think outside the box, in order to get patrons to visit them. In my case, as someone who lost a pet at the tender age of thirteen (13) and never wanted another one to suffer the heartbreak of such a loss, I would definitely be willing to visit the library to borrow a dog.

As our best friends, dogs, are like kids, they can definitely put a smile on your face when they start their repertoire of cute antics, which means that you end up having a few blissful moments to just enjoy an animal, without having to bathe it, feed it or to worry about if it’s chewing your shoes while you’re at work.

So I hope that many librarians, take a page out of the Countway Library of Medicine’s book and think about whether such an initiative would be a success at your library.

To read up on the library’s innovative stress relief weapon Cooper you can click on the following link Doggone that stress.

Also if there are libraries out there that have already taken such a bold step I would love to hear about it so don’t be afraid to comment.

Therapy Dog Cooper

Loise Francisco and her dog Cooper, who is a therapy dog available to faculty, staff and students on the Medical School campus of Harvard University. Justin Ide/Harvard Staff Photographer

Posted in Library Initiatives | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Library Users Wanted….

Over the years I’ve grown to love the library and all the initiatives that seasoned librarians, as well as, library students, have created to increase the statistics, in terms of, library usage. I’m always excited when I hear someone talk about a book that they are reading or discuss a library event that they are eager to attend.

Yet, lately, I’ve seen persons ever connected to some type of technology, whether it is playing video games, scrolling twitter or Facebook on their smart phone or tablet and even instant messaging their BFFs. Even when I’m heading home, after a long day at the office I notice many people who are plugged in. Although I have nothing against one having a past time that involves technology I find that many persons can’t tell you when was last they read a book, or worse yet, when they visited the library.

Right now I’m going through “book withdrawal” since I haven’t read an actual book, in its physical form (I’m a sucker for books in print), for over a month (with the last book I read being “The Farming of Bones” by Edwidge Danticat). Recently, our national library (NALIS) held the NGC Bocas Literary Festival (Bocas Lit Fest) and I felt horrible that I couldn’t attend any of the events like the exhibitions (this year there was one for Gabriela Mistral, a Chilean poet, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1945), the one-on-ones and the screening of films.

In my opinion, I find it very disappointing when persons scorn their libraries or the whole concept of reading a book. In fact, one of the main reasons for me deciding to become a librarian is the possibility of being able to foster a love of reading and a love for the library in other persons.

I hope that many people would soon realize that libraries have a lot to offer and that reading helps open one’s mind to knowledge and entertainment. For instance, some libraries like Ann Arbor District Library offer fun events like short story competitions, nature walks, as well as, provide tons of information on new books. Even our national library offers DVDs, movie hour for the kids, lectures, book talks, classes for the elderly and other fun activities.

If your neighbourhood library is a dynamic library, with a lot of fun activities like Ann Arbor District Library or even like our national library, I suggest you visit and see if there is anything that you like, trust me you won’t regret it. 🙂 However, if your library seems to be lacking, get on the complain train, start petitions and get those in authority to make a change because it would be for the best.

For more information on the the Bocas Lit Fest, please click on the link below:

http://www.bocaslitfest.com/

And for those of you who want to see what a dynamic library has to offer check out Ann Arbor District Library website on the link below (or from Libblogs home page):

http://www.aadl.org/

Featured image

Posted in Library Users | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Opening the Door to Potential…

In many communities, and more importantly in many libraries, I am sure there are a myriad of potential writers: in all sorts of genres. In reviewing biographies of writers and poets alike, such as Michael Anthony and Pablo Neruda, one can always see a common pattern (a love for books and reading). Through such an activity children are able to develop their vocabulary as well as open the door to creative talents.

As a result, libraries and their dedicated librarians must be able to ensure that appropriate initiatives, such as the “It’s All Write” Short Story Contest sponsored by the Ann Arbor District Library, are introduced together with the many activities of the library whether it’s a public, academic or school library. I agree, as librarians, our roles are very diverse and continuous. Yet, in this way we can always be sure to open the doors to our children’s potential at any age.

Even at home, parents must ensure that books, both fiction and non-fiction) are available for their children. Even taking time from their busy schedules as working parents to enjoy a good book. Thus, I am sure that many notable writers, journalists, poets and other talented creators would have gotten the opportunity to embrace their full potential.

More information on the annual “It’s All Write” Short Story Contest  can be found here: http://www.aadl.org/events/itsallwrite

Baby Writer (I know they wouldn't start this early but it highlights my point :)

Baby Writer (I know they wouldn’t start this early but it highlights my point 🙂

Posted in Library Initiatives | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Libraries are a necessity…

As a child I always fostered a love of books and in particular the library, whether it was the school library or the public library. I remember a fondness for the librarian in the public library who always saw my penchant for reading and allowed me to borrow books above my age limit. These I devoured greedily, enjoying the exposure to new vocabulary and new scenery.

However, in reviewing the State of American Libraries Report 2013, as well as seeing such trends firsthand, it both saddens and angers me at the same time that libraries have to suffer budget cuts in light of the recession.

In most cases, even in the corporate environment, governing bodies always see the information needs of its citizens, including its future leaders, as insignificant. Have they not considered the importance of the library to their own children? Although books have become more readily available to the masses, there are still families that cannot afford to support themselves, far less to splurge on a book to read bedtime stories to their children.

I can still remember as a child being read stories and poems by my mother such as “Pat a Cake” and “There Once Was a Puffin”. With 73% of Americans using their libraries to borrow books it would indeed be a tragedy when such statistics dwindle due to the fact that they have read most of the books on the shelves or because the libraries can hardly afford to purchase new materials.

Also with most school libraries being shut down due to a lack of funding one can only foresee the dreaded consequence of children not fostering their love for books or the creation of stories which usually leads to the expansion of imagination. No longer would they be guided by a kind librarian in reading and other fun activities. Those librarians who would also be responsible for instilling reasearch skills with benefits such as better learning and grades would be a notably scarce staple in many societies.

It is indeed a shame to see that those guiding the way are those with the myopic point of view.

The Report can be accessed on the American Library Association website using the link below: (Read it and weep. 😦 Seriously!)
http://http://www.ala.org/news/state-americas-libraries-report-2013

Posted in Status of Libraries | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Blogs can be great…

As I skim through my small collection of blog favorites I am especially pleased to see the work that has been done in the Ann Arbor District Library blog. One can find various activities offered for a particular week , which not only involves reading but other fun activities such as hiking, competitions , craft, computer classes and even yoga.

Having such an integrated approach helps attract persons to the library environment in ways that speak to their personality. As someone who loves hiking I would jump at such an activity if it was offered at my public library.

In this way library patrons can be supported in some of their extracurricular activities through their library which helps grow a sense of comraderie with librarians, library staff and other patrons who may be attending similar events.

Have you visited a library blog near you yet? 🙂

Who knows maybe you will find some very interesting activities.

Posted in Posts About Library Blogs | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Speed dating at Uni…

As librarians, it can be very heartbreaking when one encounters someone, especially a child, who does not like to read. If one is an avid reader, like me, the first thing that comes to mind is “Why!” :(. Yet, as unlikely as it may seem, such children do exist since their interest wasn’t bred in the early stages of their development. One lovely method I read about for coping with such a problem was “speed-dating books” which was carried out Uni High School by the librarian and a teacher. First the students were given a free-reading assignment, in which they had to choose any science non-fiction book and answer a few questions. Then, for two minutes they were asked to “sell” their books to their partner.

Reading about such an initiative just brought a smile to my face. Initially, I was very curious but as I read I just knew that it was an overall success story and definitely something for teachers and especially parents to carry out on their weekly library trips with their kids.

For details about the assignment one can clink on the link that follows: http://www.uni.illinois.edu/libraryblog/january_2013/speed_dating

Posted in Library Initiatives, Posts About Library Blogs | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

On the Search for Excellence…

I remember as a child, browsing the shelves of the local library, searching especially for award-winning novels. Such books were an absolute pleasure and I felt that by reading them I was feeding my appetite with the literary finest. I was particularly pleased to see that the Ann Arbor blog had listed books that had won the Printz award as well as books that won the Excellence in Young Adult Fiction for 2013. Even though as an adult I still search for award winning books as well as those that peak my interest it is always a pleasure to explore books that are different and new. For instance, I recently read “Magic Seeds” by V.S. Naipaul, which was very different to anything I had ever read, but was a very lovely surprise to my literary taste buds.

Posted in Posts About Library Blogs | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Gardening with Orange Public Libraries

My mother and my brother as well as my grandfather, on my father’s side of the family, are known for their gardening. My grandfather’s garden even supplies my family with produce years after his death as a symbol of the life he led. I on the other hand, although I love plants and fruit trees, have not been gifted with the green thumb or at least with the opportunity to grow something. I recently visited the Orange Public Libraries blog (available through links on my blog as well as the url: http://orangelibraries.blogspot.com/ ) and was made aware of the “Garden of Renewal” initiative. This project, which is done jointly with the Seeds of Solidarity Education Center, involves teaching patrons best gardening practices while they are entertained by poetry(which I greatly appreciate), music and served with refreshments.

The overall aim of the project would be to provide patrons with valuable knowledge (through books and lectures by the Seeds of Solidarity staff) as well as to provide a place for rest, contemplation and fresh food.

As someone who knows the importance of gardening, both for the produce one can harvest as well as the health benefits(as a teenager I spent many an early morning reading in my mother’s garden so much at peace and happy), I must say that this initiative would be a great benefit to those who choose to participate (I expect that this should be a lot of persons since the programme is helpful and free).

This kind of project truly shows how important a library can be to its community since I believe this project would also help foster some pride in the patrons as well as develop a sense of camaraderie among them.

I  feel sought of nostalgic(I even wish that my library would have an initiative like this) at the thought but supremely happy that such an initiative is being done. Best wishes to the staff at Orange and I hope that the project is a great success.

Posted in Posts About Library Blogs | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Ann Arbor Excels

I recently visited Ann Arbor’s AXIS blog and I was truly impressed with what they have been doing of late. I hope I am not biased but I must say that they seem to keep abreast of everything plus come up with innovative ideas that are bound to succeed.

Two things that jumped out at me were the post on Hunger Games (would you believe I don’t have the books and I haven’t seen the movie as yet!) and a comic artists forum. I know that when I was younger comic books were all the rage especially Archie.

Therefore by visiting the library’s website persons have an opportunity to be knowledgeable on Hunger Games news plus have an opportunity to learn a fun skill – who wouldn’t want to create their own comic.

Keep excelling AADL.

For a look at some of the interesting initiatives employed by the Ann Arbor District Library see the link below.   http://www.aadl.org/axis

Posted in Posts About Library Blogs | Tagged | Leave a comment