Libraries play a variety of roles in modern society. Whether they are improving literacy, teaching their patrons how to live more healthful lives, or helping patrons to better develop professional skills, libraries have expanded far beyond traditional notions regarding their purpose.
In terms of promoting literacy, few institutions are as well-equipped or as motivated as libraries are. Patrons of all ages can benefit from these services, whether the goal is early literacy, digital literacy, or simply improving one’s existing relationship with technology and the written word.
Public libraries play a pivotal role in preparing our children for lifelong literacy, helping them to succeed as students and beyond. Libraries like those in New York offer patrons the ability to not only enjoy the conveniences of digital collections, but become a part of the process that improves these collections. Others creatively utilize tools like Minecraft to educate and inspire their patrons, a concept that flies in the face of stereotypes regarding gaming and embraces the use of technology as a vehicle for both learning and creativity.
Of course, literacy efforts need not remain indoors. Seed libraries and library gardens give patrons the ability to improve their overall literacy while also empowering these patrons to make healthier and more sustainable dietary decisions. The advocacy of self-sufficiency amongst patrons and the potential for a stronger relationship with scientific principles makes this programming invaluable.
For those without jobs, libraries provide hope for better future. Job seekers enter libraries to find a number of resources at their disposal and staff that is increasingly prepared to meet their needs. With 92% of public libraries providing some form of access to employment resources, libraries have become a hub of personal and professional growth for millions of Americans (Hoffman, Bertot, and Davis, 2012).
For those in needs, libraries have traditionally offered both safety and comfort. Today, many libraries throughout the nation have moved beyond mere passive assistance, providing their less privileged patrons with much more than a secure space. Embracing their ability to connect patrons with vital services, these libraries have created opportunities for health care, housing, and education.
Time and time again, libraries have proven that they are not only desirable additions to our communities, but a necessary component of a stable and prosperous future.
Disclaimer: This blog and its contents are being used solely for academic purposes.