5 on Friday: Ways to show love to your local library

I’ve long been a fan of the local library, and now with a kindergartener in school, I’m learning to appreciate the school library, too. If you don’t already frequent your community’s library, what are you waiting for? Books, movies, CDs, classes, programs … most have a lot to offer. And if you, like me, could live at the library, here are five ways you can show your library some love.

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1. If you’re a book hoarder collector, weed through your personal stash and donate a box of books to the library. I did this, this week, and it felt good to make space for more books in our house, and I hope, to give the library access to useful titles. Even if they can’t put them on the shelves, they can sell them to earn money for the library.

2. And speaking of a book sale, your library probably has one! (Maybe more than one.) It’s a great place to get cheap books, and you’re supporting the library with your purchase. I’ve found these sales to be heavy on popular fiction, but we’ve scored cookbooks and kids’ books at a great price. It’s like a treasure hunt!

3. Volunteer. I spent a couple of hours in the school library this week weeding their stacks for books that haven’t been checked out in five years or more. For me, this was the perfect volunteer job. Low interaction with people. Task-oriented. I had fun. No, really. But even if that’s not your thing, your library might have something you can do. I mean, if you know your alphabet, you can reshelve books. I see a lot of older, retired people volunteering at the library, but let’s not let them have all the fun!

4. Write your state legislators and tell them how important your local library is. Library funding is often one of the first things to get cut in tight budget years, but libraries serve an important role in their communities. Every library we’ve frequented has had its own charm, but what I’ve been most thankful for are the services they provide, like storytimes for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Our current local library branch has a program where a couple from the community brings in their rescued greyhounds and kids can read to the dogs. Our son has gotten over his fear of dogs because of this program.

5. Be kind to your borrowed materials. And to your librarians. I love books more than I love people sometimes, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be around people. Librarians work hard for what I assume is not a lot of pay, and as the economy struggles, they’re expected to provide more and more services. Also, I was super impressed by the school librarian today. She wasn’t just teaching kids how to use the library, but how to research and think critically. I was saddened that some of the books that hadn’t been checked out in a while were classics, and that so many of the popular books are based on television shows. I don’t want to sound dramatic, but libraries are an integral part of shaping the next generation. Along with teachers, librarians have a great responsibility to society. If nothing else, get your local librarian a Starbucks card for Christmas just to say thanks.

What other ways have you found to support your local library?

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