A couple of months ago, a friend and I were talking on Facebook about the closing of her local library and the disruption the closing is going to cause her. You see, she doesn’t just use the library for checking out material and doing research, she and her son walk to the library when the weather is nice and they use that time to talk and just enjoy each other’s company. They also like to stop at the local park so her son can play while she reads or catches up with other mothers in her neighborhood.
The library has become a “memory holder” for my friend and her son. As her son gets older and the mother~son moments become fewer and farther between, they’ll always be able to look back and remember their walks to the library, the stops at the park, the book reading at night, etc. These will be the memories that my friend will treasure when her teenage son has slammed yet another door or she has heaved a heavy sigh…
For many parents, the library is more than a place to find books, it’s one of the first places their children learn to connect with other kids ~ through story times and other children’s activities. The library is the place that prepares their kids for school. Think of all the things children get introduced to during story time:
- Listening and vocalization
- Use of the imagination
- Connecting stories and crafts
- Fine motor skill development
- Big motor skill development
- Following rules
And, for some children, the local library is the only place where they have access to a computer. Libraries provide the foundation for a solid education.
These are the things that the powers that be don’t know when they make the decision to cut services or close libraries. By removing these services from our communities (or cutting back on the hours these services are available), countless children are losing access to valuable educational and entertainment opportunities.
Many of the programs offered at local libraries are “free” (meaning that families don’t have to pay out of pocket as long as they have a library card), which relieves an enormous financial burden on parents that are looking for low~cost ways to entertain their children.
To save your library, consider joining grassroots organizations like Save Libraries or I Love Libraries. Or, better yet, go to your local library and become a friend of the library. Get library cards for your family members, as long as libraries can provide usage stats, they have a better chance of opposing library cuts.
Do you visit your library on a regular basis? What would losing your library cost your community?
Disclosure: This post is adapted from one that originally appeared on my blog, Living Outside the Stacks, and is the first in a series of original posts for Eighty MPH Mom readers to discuss the importance of libraries to our communities.