Since 1958, a week in April is set aside to celebrate the wonders of libraries. This week is appropriately called NATIONAL LIBRARY WEEK! For us, it’s a lot like celebrating Spirit Week at school. We get to dress up, stand out, and unite as a team to celebrate and bring attention to the services provided by our library. And, although libraries have definitely changed a lot since 1958, we are still just as valuable and relevant.
“Libraries are more relevant than ever.
They are a place for personal growth and reinvention,
a place for help in navigating the information age,
a gathering place for civic and cultural engagement and
a trusted place for preserving culture.
While the technology for accessing library materials has changed and will continue to change,
our mission – to inform, to share and to gather – will not.”
Luis Herrera, Library Journal’s 2012 Librarian of the Year.
We still have printed books, but we also have e-books, audio books and streaming movies, and music. We provide instruction and exploraton of new technologies and engaging programs for people of all ages.
When I am out and about and talking about the library, I am amazed by all the misconceptions and lack of information about our services that people have, including my own family (my girls have practically grown up in the library). For example, this past week I took my family to the Studebaker Museum (If you haven't taken the time to visit this amazing museum, please do yourself a favor. The cars are absolute works of art. The history of the Studebaker Manufacturing Company is facinating. And, if you have young children there is "service station" for them to work on their own Studebaker. Go now) . “Wow Mom, this is the greatest, how did you get a free pass?” As I have told them many times before, you can check out museum passes. “What??!!!” In addition to the Studebaker Museum we also have passes for Healthworks, the History Museum and Fernwood. More surprised gasps and “you never told us!” Yes, of course I did. But, it does make me realize that because people still do not realize that the library is more than books and story times. So, in celebration of National Library Week, I thought I might remind you of all we have to offer and some behind the scenes information, too. So, here are few things you may not know or have forgotten:
Computer Classes – Free basic computer classes are available for adults at the Main Library. Brush up on Microsoft word, Power Point, Excel or learn how to get an e-book.
Flipster – Digital magazines at the touch of a keyboard
e-books – Check out all the latest novels and non-fiction titles. We also offer classes that guide you through the process. And, if you are confused about the different devices, Sights and Sounds has a "petting zoo" of different devices.
Hoopla – streaming music, movies and audiobook.
Online Courses – Gale Courses and Lynda.Com – More free classes!
Museum Passes – History Museum, Fernwood, Healthworks and Studebaker
Book sales – Located in the Friends for the Library building behind the Main library.
Studio 304 – We have a 3-D printer, a green room for making videos, recording studios, color printers and scanners and computers for editing and digitizing.
Local History – Michiana Memories -a digital collection of maps, postcards and photographs.
Dial-a-Story – The Children's Department does some amazing things! Check out there new YouTube channel and enjoy a wonderful story!
Programs– we offer a wide variety of programs that is engaging to patrons of all ages. In addition to our annual programs like Science Alive!, One Book, and Open book, we also have monthly programs at every location.
Ask a Lawyer – one of our most popular programs. Lawyers from the Volunteer Lawyer network come to the library 3 times a year to answer your legal questions. Our next Ask-a-Lawyer event takes place at the Main library on Monday, April 27.
If you have been curious about how items magically appear on our shelves, here's a glimpse of how it's done by the numbers. First, reviews are read. Our head of Aquistions reads as many as 50 reviews a day to help decide what will go into the collection. That does not include the additional requests for titles to be ordered from staff or patrons. On an average week, 372 titles are ordered and 448 titles received in approximately 183 boxes! The items are then cataloged at the rate of around 92 titles a day! The items are then processed and barcoded. Items are then checked for holds (well over 120 per day) and placed on the shelves for you to check out. On an average day we check out around 5,620 items! And, close to 50 customers enter the door every hour!
So, stop by, explore and engage your senses. There is much to see and do at the library. And, while the technolgy has changed, our mission has not. We will always be a gathering place for storing and sharing ideas and information. For more information on the state of the library, here's the latest report from the American Library Assocation. And, if you would like to read more about librarys are library-themed books, check here.