Other Voices: Celebrate National Library Week | TheUnion.com

Other Voices: Celebrate National Library Week

Every year, libraries across the country celebrate their existence during National Library Week, April 11-17. It is a time to remind the public about the contribution libraries, librarians and library workers make to their communities every day. Without public libraries, many would not have the resources to learn and improve themselves, add skills or just find pleasure in the written word.

We, in Nevada County, have just come through a long eight-month period where many people examined how much their publicly run libraries mean to them. It was also a time where many county residents, library patrons and other interested people donated an enormous amount of money toward our local libraries. These donations were made despite a time of economic distress and high unemployment.

Our county residents love the library. Even when service hours were cut in late 2008, the number of people using the libraries increased. The number of card holders also increased. And recently they came out in droves to support and defend this valuable community resource.

Our library helps our county thrive in many ways. There are reading and story times for children. Has your child or grandchild had a chance to read to George, the certified reading therapy dog or attended the Mother Goose story time?)

There are online resources as well as computers available for patron use and wireless Internet access at no charge. There are movies, audio books, music and other media for check out as well as traditional books and magazines. There are author programs and a book club for sharing ideas. Read Up, the literacy program sponsored by the library, just won National accreditation. The Doris Foley Library for Historical Research houses an incredible collection of local historical and family information.

Because of the further budget cuts and staff reductions, there probably won’t be much celebrating at our county library branches this year. But maybe this year is the time when we all can make a point of visiting one or more of our Libraries. Maybe this is the time to renew our appreciation and consider again all that our libraries can do for us.

Check out a book, movie or music CD. Take a look at the architecture at the Doris Foley Library for Historical Research, Grass Valley Royce Branch or Madelyn Helling locations. The Foley and Grass Valley locations are historic Carnegie libraries dating back to the early 1900s. Bring your laptop and surf the net with the library’s wi-fi service. Buy a book from the Friends at any of the branches. Thank our library staff and volunteers.

Maybe now is the time, even if you don’t think you need the public library, to volunteer. It’s fun to join a team of dedicated people and the work is greatly appreciated. Volunteers do dozens of things to help our libraries operate – prepare books and materials to be added to the collection; shelve returning materials, stamp those “Return By” cards; help with programs; act as tutors for those who want to have the gift of reading open to them; help at a Friends’ author night or other programs. These are only a few of the things that we can do to help our community through volunteer hours at our libraries. If you are interested in volunteering, ask at your local branch.

Come back and celebrate all that our libraries can do for us as a community and you as an individual. Come back, the libraries are open to all.

Ingrid L. Knox is the Friends of the Nevada County Libraries president.

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