By Mary J. Soucie, North Dakota State Librarian
Adapted with permission from the August 2018, NDSL Flickertale
Libraries are so much more than book repositories these days. Libraries are still about books but we’re about so much more than books. Libraries, more than ever before, are the centers of their community. The role of the library is to help our patrons individually as well as our community as a whole make connections with information, people and resources in many different formats.
Moms and dads that come to story time with their infants and then toddlers often form lasting friendships with each other as their children grow up. People that meet in book clubs share a love of reading and discussion that can lead to more meaningful relationships outside of book club. I always love when I hear a story of a couple that met through the library or that gets engaged or married at the library because it’s such an important part of their story.
Libraries help people connect to information when they are facing an illness or loss, but also when they are celebrating the next chapter in their lives. Books expand people’s lives in many ways, just as a library does. We introduce people to new ideas, new technologies, and new people.
Librarians make connections with their patrons. I love when we watch kids grow up in the library. We might be the only person that someone talks to when they come in to check out books. We are honored to be part of our patron’s stories in so many ways. My predecessor at my last public library believed that librarians are like bartenders because people trust us with their secrets.
Think about the ways that your library connects people with what they need. It is a vital role that libraries play and an important role to embrace.