Checking Out Your Public Library Services
The Internet age has seen many brick-and-mortar bookshops and humble paperbacks replaced by online megastores and handheld screens. But libraries are still heaven for bibliophiles—in these cozy retreats from the hectic world, one can wander the aisles of Dewey Decimal-coded shelves and get lost between the physical pages.
But public libraries are more than a haven for bookworms. These community spaces provide a range of offerings and services to the public, some of which can be life-changing. Children and the elderly can especially benefit from public library services. Common offerings include:
- Safe and educational after-school youth programs
- Tutoring and homework help
- Early-literacy children’s story time and play activities
- Computer and Internet access
- Free classes in web and computer skills, many designed for older adults
- Assistance with resumes and job applications
- Community classes in everything from hobbies to languages and communication
- Reading and writing groups
- Free lectures and performances
How to support public library services
Local libraries offer a wealth of opportunities to volunteer. You might provide after-school tutoring, teach a community class or become a guest speaker for a special event. Find out which skills are in demand at your local branch.
There are many ways to offer a financial donation. You can make a one-time gift, or budget for monthly or planned giving. Consider making a donation in someone’s honor; these tribute or memorial gifts can be especially touching for loved ones who value the library community. Purchasing an individual or family membership is another way to support your public library, and it may come with perks, such as early access to events or discounts at book sales. If your library hosts public benefits, you can purchase tickets or, better yet, help sponsor the event at a higher price point.
Beyond these two valuable resources—time and money—are material gifts. If you are in possession of historically significant items like books, maps, manuscripts or artwork, contact a library curator to see if they can accept your donation. However you give, your community will benefit.