The university of the public library

I have always loved going to the library to browse and study. And yes the free Internet access is crucial to those who do not have access to it at home.

N.V. Binder

I am a librarian at a small public library in rural Florida. While there is a lot to love about my community, many of my patrons face the ills of rural poverty: outdated infrastructure, inadequate schools, a lack of access to computers and high-speed Internet, and insufficient transportation. Under these circumstances, the public library isn’t just a “nice thing to have”–it’s a lifeline to community and social services, as well as the many benefits of access to technology.

While the library’s core mission is still to provide access to books and a place for free expression, providing access to high-speed Internet has become increasingly important. Far from reducing the need for libraries, the Internet has made libraries more valuable in communities like mine. People now use public computers and Internet to access job training, social services, and even healthcare, often with the assistance of library staff.

The library building…

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2 thoughts on “The university of the public library

  1. Excellent article and very true. I am grateful that my library offers the variety of services and programs that it does. Many others do not. I also do not mind paying small fees for things like the Zumba class that mine offers, because where else can I take a Zumba class for 8 weeks for only $24.00? I also like that mine has the latest technology. I went there to learn how to use an ipad and when I received an e-reader for Christmas a few years back, I went to the library where the reference librarian taught me how to use it and download the e-books to it.

    As more and more people find themselves out of work in this scary economic climate, they are becoming even more dependent upon their local libraries, for job information, resources like computers to complete online applications, and even the most up to date books to help them prepare for civil service exams. I also realize that in times like these, libararies are often among the first services that get funding cut. I think people need to realize how vital libraries are, even though we are in such a high technology age.

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  2. It’s true and she makes some good points about how many students do not have parents who have a college education, so they could benefit from a librarian’s experience. Also, that is an excellent point about the public meeting spaces. My local library is small and their collection is not the greatest which surprised me but I still like going there just to browse the periodicals. When I lived in Alexandria that was a much better library.

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