Libraries as Community Centers

Libraries as Community Centers

If you had come to May Memorial and Graham Public Library on Saturday, March 8, as I did, you would have seen every single chair occupied, people sitting on the floor reading books with their children, small groups browsing the honor paperback section and people reading magazines.  You would have seen people using laptops and tables, and everywhere there was an outlet some type of electronic device was plugged in.  It was one of the busiest Saturdays I’ve seen in quite some time.  This is pretty amazing when you consider that the public computers couldn’t access the internet and staff was unable to get the circulation system up and running so people could check out books and movies.  So what on earth were all these people doing at the library on such a day?!  They were keeping warm, accessing the wireless network and recharging cell phones so they could let their loved ones know they were okay.

Alamance County had just suffered a disastrous winter storm, resulting in over 50,000 people without power. Trees and debris were strewn all over roads, power lines were down and many of the people in our county, as well as surrounding counties, had no power.  Graham Public Library had power, had internet access and had the ability to check out materials, so staff at May Memorial were directing anyone that absolutely had to have those type of services to go to Graham.  Mebane Public Library had no power and had to be closed that day.

I love everything about libraries, not just that you can check out books or movies or get on the internet.  I just like walking in the building and being surrounded by books and words and possibilities.  So it was very cool to walk in on a day when service was limited and see the library so busy.  At no time has it been more obvious to me that libraries play an important role in their communities as it was on Saturday, March 8, 2014.

I am currently reading For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

March 17, 2014