Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Support Local Libraries

According to an article over at The Consumerist, public library usage is up, possibly due to trouble with the economy.

  • MODESTO, CA: Checkouts are up 15 percent at the main library.
  • BOULDER, CO: Circulation of job-hunting materials is up 14 percent.
  • NEWARK, NJ: Usage of the public library is up 17 percent.
  • SAN FRANCISCO, CA: Library card requests have increased 27 percent in the last half of 2008.
  • BOISE, ID: Reported a 61 percent increase in new library cards in 2008.
  • BRANTLEY COUNTY, GA: Library computer usage was up 26 percent in the last quarter.

Public libraries can make you feel like a king if you're on a tight budget. I was raised by a single mom and times were often tough. I remember the first time I walked into a library and someone explained to me that I could get any book I wanted there and they were FREE! I felt like it was some miracle that was being visited upon me. I remember looking up at the big library stacks and not knowing where to start. It was a breathless and defining moment.

Libraries are underfunded, in my opinion, considering the service they provide a community. What can you do to improve your library system? Brainstorming this question will reveal many ways you can help, besides the obvious monetary donations.

  • Donate books in good condition
  • Volunteer to be on staff or board of directors
  • Offer to teach free classes or workshops
  • Read to the kids at story hour
  • Randomly pay a buck or two on someone's library fines
  • Purchase books at the book sales

What are some other ideas you can come up with? Are there any librarians out there who can tell us great ways to help our community libraries?

[photo credit: brungrrl]


Kadri said...

I give my books, the ones I can part with, to school libraries since they are worse off than the public libraries here. And also because the school library was my safe haven when I was a kid and T want to make sure that it's there for other kids that might need it.

Wendy said...

That's a great idea. My oldest son is in Kindergarten and you should see the books he comes home with! They are so beat up, worse than most garage sale kids books. I bet even if you find some from yard sales that are in decent condition they would take those.

Library time was one of my favorite times in school. :) We're sure geeky. Heh.

tantra flower said...

I'm so happy I came across the link to your blog in the comments of Moonstruck Tinsel. It's heartwarming to meet others who value generosity and support their local community.

I am also a supporter of my local library. My branch is within walking distance of my apartment, which I enjoy very much. I donate all of my magazines once I've read them. I also give them books, music and movies that I no longer need and -- if you count the late fines I incur by being consistently five days late returning my books (this embarrasses me considering the close proximity) -- I give them money every month. But I never thought to donate my time. Thank you for that suggestion.

Your blog is lovely and I will be coming back. Peace.

Wendy said...

Tantra Flower, welcome! Sounds like you do a lot for your local library. I completely understand about the library fine thing. I drive by the library EVERY DAY and still can't manage to get my books back on time. I am mortified every time I have to go in and pay the fines.

The last time I went back the librarian said, "Your fines are nine dollars but I'm only allowed to charge you three." I felt about an inch tall so I stuffed all the extra money I had in the donation jar. I think I have single handedly funded one whole shelf of books with my overdue fines!

Glad you enjoy the blog. We have a lot of great posts coming up about "budget philanthropy". It's one of my favorite topics!

I'm thrilled you stop by. I hope lots more people will head over here and post their own ideas on Ways to Make a Difference! :)