public library system. Whoever was instrumental in creating public libraries should be sainted, knighted, crowned, celebrated! The free, sharing of information and the written word is surely ONE of the elements that make for a civilized, peaceful society.
Although the concept of the public library is fantastic, there are levels of "wonderfulness" at each facility. I have lived in many different cities and experienced a variable sliding scale of public library competencies.
One of the smaller city libraries, in south eastern Arizona with a population of approximately 30,000, had a top-notch facility. They had only one building that was clean and welcoming, the book selection was current, up-to-date and available.
My parents live outside a tiny town that boasts the thriving Mill Pond Library. With the help of their Friends they moved from 900 square feet into a donated grocery store space, outfitted it with computers and DVDs and expanded their new titles in order to better service a rural area of eager readers. The fund raising efforts of this librarian and community are incredibly impressive and inspiring.
It is understandable, in our time, that government funds to libraries run shallow and that many are great because of the dedicated librarians and community benefactors that make up their Friends of the Library.
Knowing a public library can run well, even in tight times, brings discouragement when a large city public library appears to be lacking in resources.
The answer to this stringency is another spectacular idea and boon to those smaller facilities that do not benefit from an active Friends group. The inter-library loan system. My sister in Michigan has used her inter-library loan system with great regularity so I find it odd that it took me so long to sign up and get on-board. I became so disgusted with our public library and their lack of titles and hodge podge handling of series that my reading had fallen off to a great degree. It wasn't until, while reading some of the review blogs, I once again searched for a particular title, was backing out of the library catalogue search engine and noticed the inter-library loan icon.
Inter-library loan sign up, search and request procedures were all exceptionally easy. The books arrived within a week. There are some stiff requirements about returning materials which are completely understandable and easy to comply with. I'm back on the library loan-trail and finding all the titles I search for.
When you have the opportunity I encourage you to be a Friend to your library. Buy what they are selling to raise funds; a brick, a calendar, cookies, holiday ornaments, a cook-book. Let your local library be a beneficiary of your designated, charitable funds.
If you love your library, give it a shout-out in the comments.
pictures courtsey of: