Are libraries still relevant?
This is a question that will likely continue to be answered for many years to come. While our community library in Mentone doesn’t get a huge amount of traffic, when a patron is in the library, it literally feels like the building knows it is being used. Its purpose is being fulfilled. What does it mean to “use” the library, these days? We have some regular “bookish” patrons (who largely prefer mysteries and thrillers), and others who regularly borrow movies (we have almost 1,000 to choose from). We have a few regular chess players on Saturday mornings. The MAPA board currently meets there, as do the Lookout Knitters.
Our library is not a “quiet” library. We talk. And we laugh. Sometimes we laugh a lot. During quiet lulls, I often muse on the lost potential of that time. Moments when a child could be discovering a book, or an adult could be browsing our non-fiction section, which is, truly, a trove of valuable information. Moments when neighbors could be connecting with neighbors, learning about each other, discovering mutual life dreams, or synchronistically being there for the other. That’s the value Moon Lake Community Library holds for me…it’s not just about books—it’s about people. As Librarian, I feel privileged to meet so many interesting people. Recently, a couple who moved to Mentone visited the library, and I learned that he is a retired anthropologist and archaeologist. How interesting would he be to talk with?!
The library has given me the opportunity to get to know community members on a deeper level than when I just run into them at the post office. It’s a relaxed space where we can connect with one another. Our library can (and should) be known as our community hub. I’ve been told that over its 18-year life, there have been waves of popularity and waves of disinterest. I think we’re riding a new wave of popularity…of relevance. We want to hear from you: how can the library best serve you? What kinds of programs would interest you? What kind of environment would entice you?
Come on in on Saturday mornings to enjoy a complimentary cup of coffee—we’ve invested in a quality coffee maker and pounds of organic Balinese coffee beans. We have a cabinet full of strategic board games to play, including chess, backgammon, dominoes, and cribbage. We have immediate plans to create a comfortable, homelike, seating area, and we’re researching the cost of offering Wi-Fi. New programs are being developed and will be announced in the near future, so keep an eye on our Facebook page. We want to serve you—each of you.
Nancy Kunhardt Lodge once said, “A library is a place vibrating with ideas.” Doesn’t that sound like a lovely place to spend time?
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