Libraries: Transforming Communities

Public libraries. They used to be buildings for check-outing novels and “how-to” resources or a serene place to spend a rainy afternoon. Card catalogs, little old librarians wearing fuzzy cardigans and glasses hanging on beaded chains, and the smell of musty, yellow-paged books will always be classic reminders of these hallowed halls, but unbeknownst to most people current public libraries are actually very different than what they started out as. True, books are still a major part of public libraries, but most current books available aren’t someone’s castaways. Don’t have money to buy the latest novel by your favorite author? Check your local library – it’s probably already waiting for you on our shelves! And have you glanced at the latest publishing trends? Novels today aren’t all about knights in shining armor and princesses in distress. These days, novels addressing every subject in every writing style are available. And yes, “how-to” books are still available in practically every subject. But these days public libraries are actually research hubs with professional resources and contacts to some of the most sought-after information in the country. Don’t believe me? Just ask Mark Pace, our resident historian. And really books are only a small part of public libraries – below are only some of the things the Granville County Library System offers.

What about technology? These days our world operates on tablets, phones, and the cloud. Both laptops and desktops are readily available for all community members including computers specifically designed for children and playaway launchpads–tablets full of pre-downloaded childrens’ educational games.

Have a business or group meeting with nowhere to meet? All our libraries have conference rooms available – will televisions to use for presentations and video conferencing.

Bored with nothing to do? Personally, I consider this to be the most exciting transformation of public libraries because these days we offer programs for every age. Need computer help? Our Adult Services Librarian holds computer workshop classes every Friday and is also available for personal appointments upon request. We also have monthly makerspace classes covering every type of crafty-itch you could possibly have – including regular cooking classes. For teens we have monthly video and board game sessions and in the fall we will be launching a mental health support group. For kids, we not only have weekly story times and Lego clubs but we also study science and perform weekly science experiments. And all these programs don’t even include our other events like summer reading, author visits, escape rooms, and any other fun idea our librarians come up with!

Really, our current library system is a far cry from how public libraries originally began. In all our efforts, we seek to provide community-centered programs and services and access to information for all individuals. If you have a specific program or idea leave it in the comments below or talk to one of the our librarians!