by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
Next week, libraries in schools, on campuses, and in communities around the United States will be celebrating National LibraryWeek. This year’s theme is “Communities matter @ your library”. Caroline Kennedy is the honorary chair.
Libraries today are more than repositories for books. They are important community centers where people gather, study, work, and find the information and resources that they need.
Librarians work with elected officials, teachers, students, small business owners, and other members of the public to find out what the community’s needs are and meet them. Whether offering programs for early literacy, internet access for job seekers, materials for English-language learners, or assistance with e-books, librarians listen to the community they serve and respond to its needs.
The Litchfield Public Library serves Litchfield and all of Meeker County by providing story times for teaching pre-literacy skills to young children and their parents; book clubs for encouraging reading and discussion among older children, teens, and adults; and 4-H-led educational activities for elementary students. The library’s knitting and gaming groups bring together groups of people interested in particular hobbies. The library staff helps people of all ages find information they need and locate books, movies, and music they want to find.
Our local library collection includes board books for babies, picture books, children’s chapter books, informational books for kids, young adult novels for teens, and a wide range of fiction and nonfiction books for adults, from the latest bestselling novel to cookbooks, health, and politics. The library also offers more than print books: our collection includes audiobooks on CD and cassette, downloadable e-books and audiobooks, popular movies and documentaries on DVD and VHS, music CDs, newspapers, magazines and e-magazines. Through an online database called America’s News, our library provides a way to search the past ten years of the Litchfield Independent Review and years of other newspapers from throughout the country.
With the cooperative efforts of libraries around the state of Minnesota, a library card can give everyone access to a vast variety of books and other materials that their local libraries could never hold. The Litchfield Library brings in three deliveries a week of items that customers order from other libraries in Pioneerland Library System and from libraries all around the state. Library staff provides one-on-one help in placing these orders to those who need it, or customers can use the library website to request materials themselves.
Our library has 17 computers that the public can use to create a resume, type a letter, send an email, or use the internet to do all of the things that have to be done online today. Local residents who don’t have high-speed internet access at home, or even a computer, use the library computers to do homework, banking, shopping, research, job hunting, and social networking. Others come in with laptops and mobile devices to use the library’s WiFi to work, study, and access the internet.
Service to the community has always been the focus of the library. While this has never changed, libraries have evolved in how they provide for the needs of their communities. Visit our website at litchlibrary.blogspot.com to learn more about what the library can do for you.