Why Libraries Matter

By Frank Menchaca

Libraries, it seems, are under attack everywhere. Schools are eliminating librarians. College libraries receive less than three cents of every dollar spent on higher education. Marketing guru Seth Godin— and a chorus of others—has questioned the relevance of libraries in particularly stinging terms.

But there’s good news too. Ninety-five percent of Americans believe that public libraries play an important role in helping people live more successful lives. Students who visit their college libraries even once a semester are much more likely to return to school the following semester than those who do not. According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, “the vast majority of readers aged 16-29 have read a print book in the last year.” And 60 percent of Americans under the age of 30 have used a library within the last 12 months.

The message is clear. Libraries—whether academic, municipal, or special purpose—are essential to the health, wealth, and education of the communities they serve. There’s no doubt libraries are challenged by funding cuts and bad press or that they need to beef up their marketing efforts, but the rumors of their death have been greatly exaggerated.

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Make an Economic Impact on Your Community: The Ripple Effect of a High School Diploma

Impact of High School Diploma

By Diane Sweetwood

Ana Lopez, 27, currently earns just above the federal minimum wage as a cashier at a local supermarket, making $16,410 per year at $7.89 per hour. She aspires to earn a Child Development Associate certification following her successful graduation from Career Online High School. As an infant/toddler teacher at a local child care center, Ana could see an immediate 50% increase of her annual salary to $24,627 per year, at $11.84 an hour, with potential to earn more than $50,000 if she rises to the Director level.

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My Library is Everywhere

By Kate P.

As a child, during the summer the book mobile from the Royal Oak Public Library would park two blocks from my house on a cool, shady street along the park. Climbing up those steps into the book mobile, I was full of anticipation of an adventure — I would get lost in the stories that awaited me! I still can remember the naturally lit space, and smell of the wooden, book-lined interior. I would haul a canvas bag down the hot sunny sidewalk back home, loaded with the maximum number of books bumping against my legs, on a regular basis. Special requests would be waiting for me the next week, thanks to Pam, the patient librarian.

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Every Day a New Story Began

By Tonya F. 

I will always be a librarian at heart. Having been a public librarian for 8 years, every day brought with it the opportunity to make a great impact on every individual that walked through the door. While libraries are indeed evolving, the ambition is still the same; to engage and enrich the community.

It would be hard to surmise how libraries have changed my life with just one story. From my own experiences as a child struggling to overcome low reading skills, to a shy teenager that was given kindness by the school librarian to sit quietly in the library during lunch (a privilege she granted to no one else)…libraries were a respite from the world around me. It was with this in mind that I greeted every new day as a librarian. Whether it be the recommending of a book or movie to a patron, teaching free computer classes, helping a student go beyond Google for their schoolwork, or assisting a job seeker with their resume and job searching…the honor to impact the community in which I served was never far from my mind.

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Live for Libraries

By Mike K.

Our County Library has been extremely important to our entire family. Our now nine-year-old kids have been attending the library just about every weekend since they were babies. Books can be expensive. Our kids enjoy the classics that we own. But the library opens up a new world of topics and subjects for them. If they are not interested, we simply exchange and find something else. Additionally the library has assisted the kids with various homework and project assignments in school and scouts.

We benefit as well with computer access at our branch. They have specific computers setup for various age group learning games. Our kids would spend hours learning with those.

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Florida Woman Goes to Library

By Sue W. 

After you move from the scholarly western suburbs of Boston to the coast of Southwest Florida, a few things may unsettle you at first.

There are, of course, the gap-toothed guys driving around in pickup trucks flying Confederate flags.

You realize that news reports about Florida Man or Florida Woman—a recent form of Homo sapiens—now come out of your own fair state. You know Florida Man, of course you do. “Florida man assaults wife with machete for buying toilet paper at Walmart.” Only in Florida, you think.

Groceries are surprisingly pricey here. The ice cream truck plays Christmas carols, year round. The sun sets into the ocean. Given the FCAT scores, you wonder if kids here ever go to college.

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