by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
The theme for this year’s National Library Week is Libraries = Strong Communities. I think many people in Litchfield would agree with that. Starting before the original Carnegie library was built here shortly after the turn of the last century, and continuing to today, residents of Litchfield have worked hard to support the library and make it a cornerstone of the town.
The library continues to help make Litchfield a strong community by serving people of all ages with a beautiful building, a wide variety of materials and programs to meet their needs and interests, and helpful staff. I have even had people tell me that the library was one of the features of Litchfield that helped them decide that this would be a good place to live.
The library actually serves people from all over Meeker County. The operation of the Litchfield Library is jointly funded by the city of Litchfield and Meeker County. People who live in or near Eden Valley, Watkins, Kingston, Dassel, Darwin, Cosmos, and Grove City use the Litchfield Library, as well as their smaller local libraries where there is one.
Libraries play a vital role in communities across America, providing critical resources, programs, and expertise. This includes school and college libraries. Public libraries provide public spaces where all community members, regardless of age, culture, or income level, can come together to connect and learn. Library staff strive to meet their community’s needs.
We’d like to invite you to join the National Library Week celebration. On Tuesday, April 9, from 1:00-4:30 p.m., the Friends of the Litchfield Public Library will be hosting an open house for National Library Week. We would love to see many members of our community there.
The Friends will be serving light refreshments in the meeting room. I will be there with them to answer any questions you may have about the library and its services, and I’d be glad to take you on a quick tour of the library.
The Litchfield Library has over 50,000 items on the shelves locally: books, CDs, DVDs, and magazines. As a member of Pioneerland Library System, the library provides easy access to materials in 31 other libraries in west central Minnesota. In fact, you can order materials from all over the state of Minnesota and have them delivered for you to check out at your local library, free of charge.
Our library has twelve desktop computers, four laptops, and an iPad for public use, plus Wi-Fi. These days the “card catalog” is a tablet computer mounted to the wall, where you can search the whole Pioneerland collection. You can also search the library catalog from the comfort of home, as well as check out our e-books wherever you are. Technology in the library changes as our world changes.
Libraries aren’t only about the books on the shelves. They’re also about the people who are there with you. You can participate in activities from storytimes to book clubs to arts and cultural programs at our local library, joining other members of the community to learn new things. And remember that you can always ask library staff for help looking up information or finding a book. You’re not expected to know how to do everything at the library; we are here to help.
In the words of this year’s National Library Week honorary chair Melinda Gates, “In addition to providing communities with access to ideas and information, libraries play an important role in our public life by encouraging creativity, promoting equality, and serving as a source of empowerment.” Join us at the library next Tuesday to celebrate!