How do I use the Library – Community

People using computersGet connected

For young and old—and everyone in between—libraries serve as centers of activity for their communities, fostering intellectual growth in many ways. Now more than ever, a library is more than a place to research a topic or check out a book—it’s a place to seek out friendship, support and a larger sense of community. By supporting your local library, you are supporting the programs that tie a community together.

A Place to Meet
For many communities, the library is a meeting place. Libraries across the country—whether public, academic or other—have meeting rooms available. Local organizations, such as the Girl Scouts, film and book clubs, and arts and crafts groups, use library resources to come together. Contact your local library to find out what events or meetings are planned.

Libraries offer more than a meeting place; they offer your community a source of enrichment. Libraries reach out to their communities every day with programs designed to better people’s lives. Vermont’s Craftsbury Public Library offers its community a slew of courses aimed at helping people. Some libraries even offer parenting classes and computer classes to help people get caught up in the digital age.

Helping the Community
Programs offered by libraries of all types help people carve out individual identities for themselves and become active members in their community. In an effort to reduce the unemployment rate, the Seattle Public Library offers its community several resources for job searching. On its Web site, which can be accessed through its free computers and WiFi or at home, community members can search through the library’s database of job and career resources. Community members can also take advantage of the library’s résumé/cover letter workshops, interview preparation and literacy/grammar help.

The Seattle Public Library also offers classes on English as a second language, as well as citizenship classes to prepare people for the U.S. citizenship exam. Call or log on to your library’s Web site to learn what classes and programs are available.

For the Kids
For many children, their first memory of learning to read is associated with the library. Libraries offer many kid-friendly workshops like puppet shows, story time and after-school programs. While these programs aim to garner children’s interest in reading, they also offer children and their parents a chance to socialize with other community members. At Pennsylvania’s Priestley-Forsyth Memorial Library, one librarian remembers how a new family used the library’s programs, such as preschool story time, to meet other families in the community.

Reaching Out
Libraries also work to build a sense of community outside their building; many offer services in the comfort of home for individuals who are less mobile. Bookmobiles and homebound delivery services expand the library’s reach and offer seniors and those with disabilities the same experiences they would get by visiting in person.

With these programs, libraries help cultivate and foster community growth and involvement. Libraries also build relationships between community members and strive to provide services for people of all ages and backgrounds.

Many of these programs and more may be available at your local library. Find out by calling or visiting one near you.