I’m wondering if I’m just old fashioned, and maybe my idea of what a library is needs to evolve, but it seems to me a library is a place where one goes to read or pick up books to read at home.
Now that libraries are turning into an inexpensive video store and gaming room and people are buying their own e-books so that they can read at their own pace, and carry their books around easily, we need to examine our mission statements.
We set up game rooms and congratulate ourselves on increasing the numbers of people coming in, but if they leave with a DVD rented for $1 and no books, or if they come to game and then leave empty handed, we have failed.
Any department store that had customers coming in and looking but not buying would be worried and would be changing their strategies.
I believe that libraries are first and foremost places that promote a love of reading. Video games and movies don’t need promotion. We should be fostering a sense of community by establishing more reading clubs and creative activities that respond to books that patrons have actually read, which will make other patrons want to read those books. Some examples of these activities would be a skit night, sharing poems inspired by books the patron has read, events like that. Of course, certain patrons would be shy to participate, but if it’s visual art that is already prepared, or if it is a filmed presentation, the other patrons wouldn’t see their mistakes.
Please leave a comment to tell me if I’m out in left field or not.