Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Let's write a story of a title wave: An ode to our local libraries.

I have no new ARC publications to advertise this week, but I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of both Jane Green's FALLING and Ruth Ware's THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 from my local library. Both are out in publication today!

I read an article recently -- Why Don't Any Experts Recommend This Place? -- about our local libraries. And it's so true. I'm constantly amazed by how many people overlook their local library. People are often shocked at how many books I read, and while I read a lot more books now via ARC, I've been a big library fan for many years. I probably log into my account and stalk my hold list a couple of times a week (OK, maybe every day). And great libraries aren't just for the big city. I live in a small, rural town, but our library offers a great collection of both "actual" books and ebooks. And, as the referenced article from The Writing Cooperative points out, if they don't have what I want, most times, I can either get it transferred from another branch, or they order it! What an awesome (and completely overlooked) idea. And, best of all, it's free!

Even better, our local library offers programs for adults and kids alike. My four-year-old daughters have literally grown up with our local library, and our lovely librarians know them by name (and they know the librarians). They've been going to the storytime programs at our local branch since before they could walk. We rely on their large supply of children's books to augment our collection--and when we find a book we really love (which happens a lot), we know to track it down and add it to the kids' bookshelves. Our library offers fun summer reading programs with incentives for the kids to keep reading, and across our system, there are a ton of other fun programs for both kids and adults all year. We are even luckier, that despite living in a town of a population of less than 500 people, our library is less than 2 miles away. And every time we go, there are people inside - adults perusing magazines and books, teens using the computers and Internet, kids looking at books. Honestly, it does my heart good.

So, in case you can't tell, I'm a huge library fan. I guess my point is: why isn't everyone? Libraries are an excellent resource for us all, but more importantly, our communities need them. We need to remember that not everyone is as lucky, as, for instance, my family, where we can use the library to supplement our own large book collection and as a way to find books to add to this ever-growing collection. I put books on hold using our home Internet collection. My kids are growing up in a house filled with reading and learning. Not every kid is so lucky. There are still many youth who need our libraries and what they offer.

Plus, libraries represent more than learning: they represent community. They bring people together. At my daughters' fourth birthday party, all the kids who attended were friends they met through the library's storytime program. Some of these kids they've known for years. That's a pretty neat concept.

If you aren't using your local library, give it a try. Like every other local institution, most libraries could use our help. Volunteer, make a donation, or just stop by. I can guarantee you'll be glad you did.
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