Thursday, June 10, 2010

Do You Use YOUR Library?

I don't. I don't even have a library card anymore. I've been debating a lot lately about with ebook reader is a better deal both for me and for the planet. The one thing that most people agree on is that the greenest way to read your next book is to walk down to the local library and borrow it. on that note, check out the below post from GOOD.

How To: Save Your Local Library: "

With recent cuts in city and state funding, libraries are an increasingly endangered species. From Charlotte to Los Angeles (and lots of places in between) libraries are being closed and their hours cut. We talked to librarian Steve Klein about how you can keep the doors of your beloved branch open.

1. Borrow Your Next Read. Circulation is one of the most important ways for the budget keepers to decide what branches are most active. Next time you need a book, go to the library instead of that big retail store.

2. Use it or Lose It. When was the last time you stepped foot in your library? Foot traffic is a key indicator of how many people the branch is serving and how much of an asset it is to the surrounding community. Even if you don’t need a book, try to stop in your local library once or twice a month. Besides books, most libraries now offer DVDs, music, and magazines: all for free!

3. Create Great Programming. Your librarian is probably overworked and underpaid, so don’t ask him (or her) for more programming. Do it yourself. “Staff tends to get stuck in ruts and sometimes have trouble coming up with new ideas, so greater participation in the library by the community is the best possible solution to keeping the library relevant,” says Klein. Programs ranging from genealogy to film screenings can all be hosted and run by volunteers. And it’s not just adults who can contribute. Kids can teach workshops on how to use Facebook, iPhones, and other technology to older library members.

4. Volunteer. Besides programming, volunteers can help beleaguered staff with a number of operational functions. Got some extra time? Help reshelving books, repairing and maintaining the building, or creating displays and exhibits, says Klein. Because building conditions are an important consideration for the powers that be, point out (or help fix) small problems before they become big (read: expensive) problems for the city to handle.

5. Team Up. Does your child’s school need a place for after school tutors? Does the local community center need a computer lab? Connecting the dots and showing how local organizations benefit from the library will demonstrate its value to the surrounding community. And remind teachers, the PTA, and students to speak up. The more diverse the group of voices, the more likely it is your politicians will hear them.

Photo (cc) by Flickr user Stewart

This post originally appeared on, as part of GOOD's collaboration with the Pepsi Refresh Project, a catalyst for world-changing ideas. Find out more about the Refresh campaign, or submit your own idea today.

Read more



Lori said...

This post is giving me the little push I have been needing.
In Florida I used our library on a weekly basis. (even got my picture in the paper once when they were doing a story on increased library numbers...LOL)
I had summers off and a flexible schedule so it was nothing for me to read two or three books a week.
The third day moving here to Illinois I went to the library in our new town and was given such a run around about all of the ID, references, proof of address, etc. to get a card that I said forget it and haven't been back.
I may just try again next week. I am a firm believer in how important to communities they are, I really should show some support.

Tony R. said...

That's great Lori! Get out there and save your library (or as I call it, li-berry)

I have no idea what it is like to get a card anymore but it was super simple when I was a kid. I remember always being a little scared and excited when I went to the library and I always felt like I was stealing something when i left because I didn't pay for the books!