Here’s the short list of why I really love libraries! Libraries are a place to borrow books on almost every conceivable subject and digital media of any kind–including, but not limited to–CD’s, DVD’s and instructional media on a wide variety of subjects and areas of learning without paying rental fees. I’ve taken advantage of their language instructions DVD at no cost whatsoever.
I can do most of those things via the ‘net, but there are almost always costs and fees involved. Not at your local library.
If you have a library card and create an ID and log-on, you can do on-line language learning and other stuff on-line through the library’s master user account and, again, pay no fees at all for educational and self improvement courses that others do on-line without paying the usual subscription fees. I’ve done a couple of those.
Libraries provide free, high speed internet access and PC services for folks who use the internet but cannot afford a computer. They do computer classes on subjects ranging from beginning PC and word processing use, to Power Point and Microsoft Word.
They do seminars for classroom learning on many subjects and endeavors using outside experts or, in some cases, library staff who are trained and certified in different areas.
Libraries have low cost access to copying and printing for people who have computer access but don’t have a copier or printer. Like me. I go to my local branch about once a month just to print that rare doc where a hard copy, paper format is necessary. The last time was to print a hard-copy resume.
Libraries host many community activities at low or no cost. The ones I’ve seen at the SW branch, close to where I was living in 2014 to 2016, are the Orlando Chess Club, and the Vista Toastmasters Club. That one has meaning for me as I served as the President of that awesome club many years ago when it was still associated with Disney.
At the branch closest to where I live now, I’ve seen meetings for clubs associated with the Puerto Rican community and an awesome seminar on the accordion. That was terribly entertaining and it was well-attended. I know that was the first exposure to the accordion by many attendees, many of whom were kids. Thank you, Corky Wisneiwski and the Orlando Accordion Club.
Libraries are a safe, appropriate place for kids to go after school so they’re doing something positive and constructive until their parents can come and pick them up. Basically, an informal and no-cost after school program. I’ve seen many kids take advantage of this at the Chickasaw branch, which is right across the street from a thriving charter school. They can do homework and use the free internet services.
The main branch of the Orlando Public Library has regular music performances by local artists. I’ve seen friends I’ve played with perform there. There’s a permanent stage there on the first floor in the dept where the CD’s and DVD’s are available for check out.
I’ve seen performances on that stage from Improv groups whose venue is right around the corner. But doing a show at the library gave them exposure to a new audience.
Libraries serve as polling places in Orange County for early voting. I have voted in three elections at the Southwest branch.
Libraries put on regular sales where the materials that are passing out of their inventories are offered to the public. I’ve bought vinyl albums, CD’s and many books this way. They have those awesome library stamps and stickers on them, but I think that’s okay. These sales are put on by friends of the library. Those folks are volunteers. I enjoyed my time as a FOTL years ago and think I’ll soon get involved with them again, too.
I loved being a volunteer docent for the main branch way back in the 80’s when the library built those 3rd and 4th floors and wanted the Central Florida community to see what their new facilities had to offer.
This post only covers library services and activities that I personally have used or gotten involved in; no doubt there are many others. I love libraries and promote them every chance I get.
“Bulldog Ben” Basile
© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile
Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile