The past two weekends I attended events sponsored by the local public library. The events were live and in person. Both felt novel and yet, a reminder of how things used to be at the same time. On some level it feels strange to have so many activities available after two years of lockdowns. It also feels strange to navigate social situations, especially ones with lots of people.
One of my favorite things about the public library is its diversity. The library has something for everyone. After all the lockdowns I have a new appreciation for both the variety in library collections and in the patronage. Libraries attract all kinds of people and manage to serve them all in some way or another. Attending these events the past two weekends evidenced that.
I’m always impressed by the adaptations made by public libraries to remain a relevant and viable part of the communities they serve. It’s funny to me that the iconic symbol of a library is books, yet they only represent a fraction of the collections, services, and programs offered by public libraries. In recent years I’ve noticed articles on new and innovative designs to make public libraries attractive and welcoming communal spots.
In my local district they recently removed late fees for the first 30 days. For a certain part of the community late fees represented a barrier to borrow books. I read about libraries in another district acquiring portable hotspots to loan to people who don’t have internet connectivity. Some libraries now carry naloxone in case of an overdose emergency. It never ceases to amaze me how welcoming and prepared libraries are to serve all their patrons.
Another thing I love is how a good public library always makes me feel like I belong to the community. I hope other patrons feel that way, too!