There’s been a lot of discussion in the papers recently about the Alamance County budget. County Manager, Craig Honeycutt, presented his proposal for the 2011 – 2012 budget to the Board of Commissioners in May. Tonight, the Commissioners will hold a public hearing, allowing the public an opportunity to comment on the recommended budget. With all this talk about how taxpayer money is spent, I wanted to be sure the citizens of Alamance County are aware of the many services offered by the public libraries in our county that are paid for with your taxes.
We read and listen. For instance, everyone knows we loan books and DVDs. We have a collection of over 215,598 books and 18,740 DVDs. We also have a collection of books on CD and books on cassette. Did you know that we also loan music CDs? Yep, you can check out Lady Gaga, or Rhiannon’s newest release on CD at any of your branches.
We talk. Are you a member of a book club or interested in starting one? Your libraries offer a wide variety of book club kits that include 10 copies of one title, discussion questions and information about the author. It’s everything you need to generate an interesting book discussion. We currently have about 145 kits available for adults and for young adults. If you don’t want to check out your own book kit, come join one of our book groups for coffee and some great conversation! We have quite a few groups going on in each of our branches geared around all kinds of topics such as knitting, mysteries, and anime to name just a few.
We start businesses. Interested in applying for a grant or starting your own business? May Memorial Library has a Business Resource center and our very own Business Librarian who is always willing to help you find the information you may need. We have great resources for non-profits, including the Online Foundation Directory database. All of our talented reference staff at each of the branches are ready to answer questions you might have!
We teach. What do chickens, shopping, and German POWs have in common? They are all topics of programs that your libraries have offered, free, to you. This year, we’ve hosted a series on Urban farming, several programs on coupon shopping, and an investment program. Last year, the Friends of the Libraries sponsored a variety of performers and something called a Bus-eum. It was a traveling museum centered around German POWs housed throughout America during World War II. This year we were awarded a grant to start a mobile lap top lab, so expect to see opportunities to learn how to set up an email account, use Microsoft Exel and Word as well as other computer skills.
We help people get jobs. Each of our reference desks makes job listings in North Carolina available. Many businesses now require applications to be submitted online. Your libraries offer internet access on public computers so you can apply for jobs, develop a resume and write a cover letter.
We entertain. Movies of newly released and old favorites are always being shown. We also host a series of independent and foreign movies. In addition, your libraries have guest speakers come in and make us laugh, theater groups put on plays, magicians work their magic before your very eyes, and a whole host of entertainers guaranteed to make you laugh, cry, sing and dance.
I could keep going, but I think you get the picture. We’re a pretty good deal for your money. Just remember, these are YOUR libraries, so come take advantage of the many things we offer!
June 6, 2011