Libraries are for…….

February 10, 2007 at 2:56 pm | Posted in Emmitsburg, Laying it the line ;-) | Leave a comment

13 Ways of looking at a public library link.

With indebtedness to the research team and only marginal similarity to Wallace Stevens’s work. The list below is a tour de force of what a public library is, was, and is in the process of becoming–for communities across the United States:

Technology center: Provides access to all forms of technology and software that people may not otherwise have access to, making the library relevant in the 21st Century.
A resource for small businesses: Provides all the resources a small business would need – including free private office space, computers with internet access, phone, copier, scanner, and fax machine. It would also provide access to online databases like ABI Inform as well as other business related resources like books about finances, marketing, etc.
Workforce training center: Provides instructor-led classes on entrepreneurship, presentation skills, computer skills, sales generation, financial planning, marketing and other business related topics in order to improve the workplace skills and marketability of community members.
Source of all government forms/applications: Acts as a one-stop-shop for all government forms as well as provides resources and advice about filling out the forms and submitting them.
Resource for job seeking: Provides resources and consultation for resume writing and interview skills to aid community members in their job hunt. In addition, it provides free Internet access for searching online job seeking services like Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com.
Resource for tax preparation: Provides tax forms, access to tax preparation resources and step by step guidance during tax season.
Health Resource center: Acts as a health information resource by providing the most up-to-date health and medical information, flu shots and other vaccinations, health insurance and Medicare information and advice.
Teen center: Provides a safe place for teens to gather outside of school, get help with school work, and have access to the Internet and computer games.
A community center: Serves as a community center that provides free meeting space to hold group meetings, attend/host special events or spend time socializing with friends.
Immigration center: Provides a place where immigrants have access to government forms, books and other information resources in languages other than English. It also provides literacy classes and other English as a second language (ESL) courses to help immigrants adapt to the community.
Music and art center: Acts as a cultural center where community members can come to learn about different types of music and art through books and other resources, but can also create and display their own art and perform their own music.
Research Center: Provides access to information on a wider variety of topics than you can find anywhere else through its online databases, reference materials, and the expertise of librarians.
Social center: Offers a café and lounge-like atmosphere for people to gather and socialize.
Of course, I’m not saying that every public library should be all of these things–but it’s a nice consolidated list of many, many of the aspirations we’ve heard/felt/thought/seen, for public libraries in this country. Looking through this list, it feels like a little bit of paradise. (If only there was a beach or swimming pool–but I am sure that will come in PL 2.0.)

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