Despite the importance of public libraries to the society, these facilities are constantly attacked like never before. Aside from the spending matters, many critics are questioning the very existence of public libraries. With the innovation of eBook and the presence of the internet, public libraries are considered outdated. These facilities are also accused as being “Middle-Classed” or being “Luxury” that people cannot afford when many services are facing spending pressure. Before critics question the existence of public libraries and before authorities view the spending issues of these facilities they should view first the importance of a public library to the community. Here are the reasons why public libraries matters.
- Public Libraries Provide Early Literacy Opportunities to Young Children
Regardless of how poor or how rich a community is, young children/students perform well on written and reading exams where the community’s public library is managed by endorsed librarians. The educational impact of public libraries to young children is extremely important. According to the National Literacy Trust, the numbers of children who go to a public library are almost the same to the number of children who do not read well. Children who go to public libraries not just pick a book and read. It their social experiences that help them learn – browsing the book, talking about the book, and comparing what they have learned to their friends and families. Their social experience reading books at public libraries is a learning process. And since it is a learning process, librarians are the gate keepers to this process – they open the doors for new possibilities. Librarians give access to narratives and ask visitors to evaluate the information offered to them. As thinking beings, both children and adult need more than just information to thrive – they need stories and public libraries are the temple of stories. Public libraries are not declining because of the historic progressions – these educational facilities are slowly dying because of the savage cost cutting actions of state councils. In the event that public libraries are gone, humanity will pay a great price.
- Public Libraries as Community Builders
Critics who question the importance of public libraries do not realize that these facilities are partners of the community in sustainability. As focal points for the community as well as key municipal agencies, public libraries play an important role in helping to create environmentally friendly, livable towns and cities. Aside from the environment impact of these facilities, they can also take a lead towards supporting local artisans, foods, and so one. There are several public libraries that partner with businesses in pioneering different community outreach programs. Public libraries foster community resilience, culture sharing, and self reliance. Public libraries also help depressed and struggling downtowns and neighborhoods. Places on the transition of economic development stress the importance of providing functional, attractive, and community based places including public libraries in depressed neighborhoods and town squares. Libraries are like the major department stores – these facilities attract a huge number people, which create economic opportunities for a range of organizations and businesses surrounding the community. Small towns, medium sized ones, and large cities have successfully transformed their public library to hubs of resonant neighborhoods. Public libraries provide a place where people can know more about their selves and their communities. The primary reason why people go to a library is to find for information, but what they find is not just information, but each other. Elderly people facing difficult transitions connect with their fellow seniors through attending public library events and make new friends. The same thing happens to new moms going to a library to find for baby story books. Public libraries also as teen spaces after school – teenagers meet up at libraries after school and discuss their lessons learned or take home exams. Community building connections happen all the time at public libraries.
- Public Libraries Are Community Centers for Various Forms of Populations
Public libraries can help to ensure that immigrant can represent their selves in the community. Multilingual libraries help non-English speakers to learn how to speak the English dialect and interact with the people in the community. In addition, libraries have a vast collection of books of other languages, not just English books. In addition, there are libraries offering bilingual book clubs. These services can help community members to recognize the variety of populations that exist in their town or city. Public libraries also provide resources information, and support for gay, lesbian, bisexual, intersexed, transgender, and critics. Public libraries are considered by gay and lesbian teens as the safest places for them – they consider librarians as mentors and allies. In addition, some public libraries offer programs for these people to help them live without hiding their true self. Books, narratives, and other resources also allow people with straight sexual orientation to understand that gay, lesbians, transgender, and bisexual individuals should not be criticized and must be respected.
- Public Libraries are Champions of Youth
It has been said that the youth is the future, and so as public libraries. These facilities are the champions of youth, so critics questioning the existence of libraries should think many times before they do their actions. Public libraries teach the youth to pick the skills they need to live life better from volunteer opportunities, teen advisory boards, small jobs, and community programs. Their experience here can help them achieve success not just in high school, but also during college and t the time they have their own career. Public libraries provide teens with positive working experience, while at the same time providing the library with staff members that are close to minor demographics. Finally, libraries are partners of parents in child development. Through public library program, collections, and activity spaces, children can learn how to share, participate in activities, and engage in their communities. There are endless examples of public library services for children and all these exist for the benefit of all. These are just few of the many reasons why public libraries matter. Based on these reasons, questioning the existence of libraries just because of cost cutting issues is inhumane.