We’ve made it to another Friday friends, and today’s a special one! It’s National Library Week, which according to the American Library Association is a “time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and library workers and to promote library use and support.” Being a librarian and avid library fan, I wanted to do a special post for this week’s #MeettheBookstagrammer post where I could talk to librarians and promote them where they are on the interwebs, so I put the call out over Twitter, Instagram, and to all my library worker friends to ask: “What do libraries mean to you?”. Here’s what they had to say:
Youth Services Librarian
As both a patron and a librarian, the heart of what makes a library for me is community. People come into the library in-person and online for all sorts of needs- from recreational reading to socialization to computer assistance. The programs, services, and stories libraries offer is the great equalizer for our communities. It doesn’t matter if you have a PhD or you’re a 5-year-old, the library is there to welcome you. I love how wholesome the idea of a library is. A community hub centered on making our communities stronger, happier, more connected through information.
Personally I love connecting to patrons over books and I end up learning a lot about their lives. As a youth services librarian, I find so much joy interacting with youth, from babies to teenagers! There’s a lot to learn from kids, and they’re pretty dang cute too! Overall, libraries are a gathering place that brings together people from all walks of life and that makes my heart soar. It makes me feel like I belong and at the base level, isn’t that what we all want in life?
Libraries mean a safe space for all to learn, grow, read, laugh, explore, make, and discover. The library was the first place I found stories about people like me–people who are biracial or queer–and for many, it’s the first place people feel safe or have access to the resources they need. The library is a place to build connections, get help, fight for our rights, find our communities, discover joy through stories, and build resistance. But it’s also a place to have fun, be silly, and just be yourself–whoever that may be, you’re always welcome at the library.
High School Library Assistant/Library School Student
Libraries are community hubs that can connect people with resources and each other. Growing up, my mom would take us to the library every week because i was a place where she could find Spanish-language materials and technology. I printed all my homework assignments at the library all the way through high school! This was a big motivating factor for pursuing librarianship as I’m dedicated to serving Latinx, Spanish-speaking, and immigrant communities. I think library staff are essential for fulfilling literacy, leisure, and access needs; therefore, I’m very passionate about young people, reader’s advisory, public libraries, and intergenerational and diverse programming!
Youth Services Assistant
Libraries mean sharing. Sharing what you know, sharing what you love, sharing experiences- building community through knowledge. All you have to do is be willing to listen, and anybody can be an educator when given the space to share something they’re passionate about. The library is that space- one of my favorite things is when a child teaches me something new!
Readers Advisory Librarian
Growing up, libraries were my escape from the world. I asked to go to the library so often that I was given the superlative of “Most Likely to Ask to Go to the Library” in middle school. The librarians and I quickly became friends despite the fact that I never turned my book in on time. No matter how many late fines I accumulated though, they were always there to greet me with a book recommendation. When things were bad at home, I always had that to look forward to: the few hours a day where I could escape inside of my peaceful library exploring all of the worlds that were inside books.
I’m so grateful that I now get to be that person for other people! I help to make the library a safe and judgement-free zone where people can explore their interests, learn new things, and escape for a little while if they need it.
Reference/Adult Services Librarian
To me, libraries mean community. They mean disseminating information to the public in a myriad of ways. Libraries mean working together to ensure citizens are informed about everything from how to access vital social services to how to use e-readers. Libraries are safe spaces. Libraries are for everyone.
Libraries are loud, messy, busy, vibrant, quiet, comfortable, energetic, bursting with craft supplies, accessible, creative, dependable, safe community hubs, and full of the best staff in the world who just want to help you! Libraries are always there for you whether it’s been a few days or a few years since you last visited.
Digital and Maker Services Manager
My favorite law of library science is, “The library is a growing organism.” Libraries represent choice. When someone uses their library, they get to decide what to learn, which magic land to visit, or which old friend to visit. The physical library can represent play time for children, safe corners for students to study or even a place to record your music or podcast. Libraries, like you, choose to grow.
When I was a kid, the library was the place where I could get a whole bag of books at every visit. It was book heaven. Now that I’m an adult, and a librarian, the library is still book heaven, but it’s also so much more. The library is a community where everyone is invited to participate, a place to connect with other people and with a huge variety of resources and experiences. You can learn a new skill, you can play D&D, you can get answers to your burning questions, you can sit by the fireplace and read for hours! It’s not a community without conflict, no community is, but it’s one based on sharing ALL THE THINGS for the common good and I think that’s pretty incredible.
Middle School Services Librarian
The Library is a place where everyone belongs and knowledge is a human right.
Young Adult Librarian
Podcast: Did You Do Your Homework?
Libraries mean access. I started my Masters program thinking I wanted to go into digital archiving, in order to promote access to historical materials and documents – obviously, my path has changed since then, but the central thesis is the same. Libraries are the place where people can discover information that might previously have been closed off to them.
What libraries mean for me is that I get to wear my awkward quirks with pride. It’s one of the few places that I get to be my truest, silliest self. I love being a Children’s Librarian because there’s nothing better than the twinkle in a child’s eye when they come in to find new stories to read.
Quinn S.(aka me)
Readers Advisory/Teen Services Librarian
Libraries are my happy place; you have no idea how many times I go into work feeling so blessed that I get to do something I love each day! I love helping people with the most mundane to most complicated questions, and recommending the perfect book gives me a rush each and every time I am able to do it. Truly, being a librarian and working in libraries is ingrained in my soul now- no matter the hard days or the difficult moments, this is what I love to do and where I love to be.
Libraries are community builders and often equalizers; we offer technology, instruction, resources, and space at no up-front cost to people. I wish people knew how much was waiting for them at their libraries- it’s not just books anymore! There are programs, unique items to check out (like kitchen supplies, hot spots, and more), and ample space to meet where you don’t have the pressure to buy anything. If you can think of it, your library can offer it to you in some way or form. Libraries are for everyone ❤
It was such a treat to talk about libraries with all of these beautiful people, and I know we would all love it if this #NationalLibraryWeek if you would share what you love about libraries, what libraries mean to you, and how you’re using libraries during quarantine.
Until next time friends…