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Librarians Heart Us We Heart Them

December 19, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 1.09.02 AMIn a funny article in The Atlantic the writer cobbles together information to create a graph that “scientifically” proves that Americans love Public Libraries more than apple pie or baseball.   Writer Robinson Myer writes “94 percent of Americans say that having a public library improves a community” and that libraries are “welcoming, friendly” places, and “91 percent said they had never had ‘a negative experience using a public library, either in person or online.'”

A study by the Pew Research Centre looks at whether libraries continue to be useful given the availability of research materials on the internet and the popularity of downloadable books.   It’s a pretty definitive study that finds that people love libraries and see them as community building resources.

In the book Bowling Alone Robert Putman showed that the ways in which communities were gathering were hugely depleted with the loss of things like local post offices,  local movie theatres, diners and bowling clubs.  In his new book, Better Together, he is identifying some best practices around belonging – one of these is libraries:

“With the advent of the Internet, many people predicted that public libraries would die. But in Chicago, the libraries are thriving and expanding because they embody a new idea of how a library functions. No longer a passive repository of books, the new Chicago library is an active and responsive part of the community. It is also an agent of change that can bring together very different types of communities, from the wealthy Gold Coast to the impoverished, mostly African-American, Cabrini Green. As one librarian observed, “Like the Marines, we go in first” to help link and change neighborhoods.”

VPLFriendsLibraries, despite the internet, just keep on keeping on – and what they keep on doing is welcoming us in ways that don’t cost money and increase our connections.

In May last year, our representative Lisa Thuy Linh Tran took cupcakes and a thank you certificate to our friends from the Vancouver Public Library to say thanks for their support.  If you have someone you want to thank, feel free to download and print out certificates of your own here!  

When we asked the Vancouver Public Library if they’d attend our book launch, they showed up and hosted a table of books about people with disabilities and helped people get library cards on the spot!

IMG_1129Most recently the Vancouver Public Library has hosted some of our writers for a reading of the ABC’s of Community Book.   The idea of this book was that kids in inclusive classrooms would get a sense of what the adult lives of their friends might be like, and would be able to have a vision that supported those friends as they all went to school together and became adults – so it was a dream come true for us, our writers and a great experience for about 50 participants, including two classes of children.

collaborativeSo when we recently presented  a poster session at “A Movement United” – TASH 2013 in Chicago one of the things on our poster was “Librarians Heart Us” and we had lots of conversations with people about the libraries they loved – we also met some librarians who were excited about our work.   Jim has been particularly good about connecting with librarians from all over the province, and they’ve been excited about the idea that they could have books for *all* the folks they serve.   As we said recently to one of them, Librarians are inclusion-aholics!

One of our friends said the other day that libraries don’t function as we might assume they do any more – some people still take out books to read, and do research there, but often they are places where people use the internet, access computers, get training in technology, or can get connected to the resources they need by librarians.

What do you most like about your library?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 16, 2014 7:52 am

    We’re where we are due to our attitude. AndSure we will likely continue being immobile until most
    of us embrace seeing everything in a different way given that
    if most of us continue doing issues exactly the same way, we shall absolutely be dormant

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