For many college students, the library is the number one place to go when you have to study for a big test or work on a group project outside of class. At Berry, it’s where you can access the Writing Center or the Academic Success Center when you need help on an assignment. On top of that, the library also has tons and tons of books, games, movies and other services that are free to students. All in all, libraries are essential to college students’ lives.
Public libraries offer many of these services and more, yet the amount of funding they receive is declining, and with it, the number of people going to libraries and using their resources is as well. While loaning out books is an important job of the public library, the numerous other services they provide are just as important to their communities. These services require adequate funding though, and as funding starts to decline, so does the number of services libraries can offer, which means that less and less people are inclined to visit them.
The library is a place for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. From the toddler who wants a book with cartoon frogs on the cover to the senior citizen who wants to participate in a book club, the library provides services that everyone can enjoy.
Free internet access is arguably one of the most important services you can find at a library. This is especially important for those who do not have internet at home but need it to do things such as job trainings, GED classes or research. With the internet now being such an integral part of our daily lives, free internet access provided by libraries is a vital service for their communities.
Providing free access to resources beyond the internet is also an amazing thing public libraries do. Alongside the huge number of books and documents available for public use, many libraries also have games, movies, technology, photograph collections and much more. In a time where so many services require subscriptions, the free resources offered by public libraries grant access to a wider range of people—all you need is your free library card.
Community groups are another important service offered by public libraries. There are groups for all ages that encourage members to read more while connecting them to other people in their community. This can look like weekly story times and activities for children, teen reading programs, and book clubs for all. By participating in these groups and programs, individuals can connect with others who share their love of reading. This therefore not only brings more people to the library to use its resources and services but helps bring the community closer together.
Beyond its services and programs, the physical space of a public library plays a major role in the community. They act as a quiet space for people to study, a warm place for the homeless, poll locations on election day and a place for people to come together. The more space a library has, the more people it can serve.
It is clear that public libraries are vital to the communities they serve. Why then do they continue to face budget cuts year after year? Less funding means that they have to cut certain services. Less services means that less people will come to the library. Less people coming to the library means less funding. The cycle seems endless.
Providing public libraries with adequate funding is an important step towards fostering healthier communities. They provide a space for people to connect with others and to use a wide variety of resources that may otherwise not be available to them. Let’s make sure that the services we have been able to enjoy thanks to public libraries continue to be offered so that everyone in the future can enjoy them too.