I read an article the other day by a pop culture analyst called Why the Next Pop Culture Wave after Cupcakes might be Libraries. The blog’s host, Linda Homes cites the recent crisis in American Library funding which seems to be causing libraries to be “something in the air”. We even made the Jay Leno monologue…tongue in cheek, he said closing a library in San Francisco would only affect the nine people who use it. A flurry of protest followed.
So after 30 years in the library business, librarians are going to be “in”? We’ve always struggled just to keep up. I replaced my glasses with contacts, cut off the bun, threw away the bobby pins, and wear sandals rather than sensible shoes. But Libraries are “in”? The blog host provided a link to the popular library ads and Youtube videos such as the parody of the Old Spice Ad, to Librarians do GaGa and even some kind words from the Old Spice Guy himself.
We used to be geeks or nerds, but these words are now affectionately used for people who are passionate and knowledgeable. That would apply to librarians!
Back when the public library movement began, public did not mean government-funded, but simply “open to all.’ We’re no longer just a place for seniors to borrow a large print book, or moms to bring their children for storytime. Libraries are “in” for a wide range of different types of people.
St.Thomas Library averages 850 visitors every day, or 75 every hour. During the summer, the library is a-buzz with out of town travellers tracing family histories, and local families participating in a variety of special events, tailored for school aged, tween or teenagers. In the fall, our Carnegie Room overflows with music lovers for our popular Words and Music program. Throughout the year, the library is heavily used by small business owners meeting clients, real estate agents staying up to date between appointment with their laptops on our free wireless network, college and university students collaborating on an assignment, job seekers moving into second careers, adult learners enrolled in a formal class or just expanding their knowledge about a hobby, and adults and seniors who simply want to read the latest bestseller, participate in a book club, attend a program, or connect with distant friends via the internet.
So why do I love my job? It’s not because we’re “In”. Libraries help people. Libraries transform and enrich lives.