Monday, September 01, 2008
by Carrie Hulce

This weekend I heard some shocking information about our local library. Because of the economy, our local library is having to make serious changes. First off, they are having to cut staff, which increases the unemployment in our city and they are having to cut hours because of the loss of these employees.

It made me wonder about other libraries around our nation and what kind of cuts that they are having to go through as well. These institutions are what keep writer's like us going. How many times have you walked into your local library and seen your book being check out by someone? I know for me, it is every time. But, if we can't help out our libraries, this may not be possible.

I know that many of you are struggling like I am to keep things going in your everyday lives. But, there are ways other than monetary donations that will help. Simply visiting your local library is an excellent start.

One of the biggest fundraising organizations for our libraries is "Friends of the Library." This is a program where older books or books that have been donated and can't be used by the library are sold. The funds raised are then used to purchase new books, equipment, etc., for that particular library. Everyone involved in this program volunteers and does an excellent job at helping to keep our libraries alive and kicking. If you are interested in helping out with this organization, check with your librarian or help desk at your library for information. Each chapter is set up differently.

Donate some of your time to your library. There are times that they may need assistance with re-shelving books. They will train you on how to get started and how to make sure that the books are stored back in their proper location.

With today's technology being what it is, most of us are now turning to the internet to find information on different subjects, from history to the latest fashion trends. But, did you know your library also tries to keep up with the latest and greatest as well. The cool thing is, most try to keep as much older information as possible and that information can be accessed via the internet as well, some libraries actually have some of their material available in digital form so that you can read it from the privacy of your own computer. In some cases, there may be a small fee that you will have to pay to access the information, but it is well worth it, it keeps your library doors open.

You can also research the card catalog for your library from the comfort of your own home. Check and see if your local library has a link. You can also check on due dates of books that you have checked out, see if you have any that are overdue, or even renew online.

If you need to do research, visit your local library. You might find even more information that you are looking for. You can ask your librarian about archived information. In some cases, they keep a special store room that has older news clippings, magazines, and more. You may need to get special access for this, but think of the information you might be able to access.

For those who are looking to cut home costs, what about doing away with internet service at your home? You can access just about everything from the computers now available at your local library. They have become the latest in "internet cafes." Okay, no drinks allowed, but hey it is well worth it. Some libraries offer the service for free, others you may have to pay a few dollars to gain access to the internet. With the rising costs, it's always nice to have another way to save a few pennies.

If you are in a small city like I am, walking to the library will actually help get you fit and trim. Free exercise regime. No club membership needed. Plus, if you check out a few books, you will get some muscle training squeezed in with the abundance of books you carry home.

Most libraries will allow you to check out the books for up to a month at a time. Plus, in some cases, you get to check out as many as you think you can read. Oh, and don't forget about the movies you can find there. Especially some of the ones we can't always get around the U.S. In many cases, you can find shows and movies that were made in Europe. My library offers several shows that come out of England; for example, Hetty Wainthrop, she's a private detective that is a little on the quirky side, or how about Monarch of the Glenn, this is a show out of Scotland about a Laird and his family.

So, please help keep your library alive, see how you can help in your local area. You may be surprised at how simple and how little time is required.

Happy writing and reading everyone!


Old Fogey said...


My brother is a librarian, and my first job was in a library (at age 11 1/2) and I'm a big fan of doing all we can to keep libraries open. One summer, when our library was strapped and couldn't stay open either weekend day (a real burden for working folks), my husband asked how much it would cost to keep the library open for four hours a weekend. We got a number..I think it was small, something like $1200...sent a check, and kept the library open. I wonder if there aren't things like this that individuals, or groups of library-loving individuals, can do to help keep libraries the vital places we need them to be.

Kate Flora

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