I live in a VERY small town. It’s a cross between Stepford and Mayberry.
I love living here, but not much has changed since I moved in, fourteen years ago. By far, my biggest disappointment has been the public library. I know that funds are very limited, and that has a significant impact on the library’s offerings, but my issue is more with the complete lack of excitement and fervor for all things literary.
The library director has been in her position for years and years, and is probably set to retire. There is another librarian whom everyone assumes will step into that role when it is available. Both of these women seem to lack any type of fire, drive, or desire to put books into the hands of the town.
There are no book clubs at my library!
September is National Library Card Drive month, per the American Library Association (ALA). What did my local library do to encourage patronage? Nothing.
Next week is one of my favorite literary weeks of the year: Banned Books Week. What is my library doing to encourage the freedom to read? Nothing.
What does my library do to partner with area public schools to foster a love of reading? Nothing.
What is the social media presence of my library? Practically non-existent.
What makes it harder for me to swallow these bitter pills is that I met with the library director not too long ago, and talked to her about ways to make the library more exciting and engaged with the community. I even offered to facilitate a reading group. She just looked at me, smiled, and thanked me for my input. She could not wait for me to leave.
Oh, and did I mention that the library is closed every Thursday? Why? Because it’s always been done that way.
I want a library that dresses up when it’s Dr. Seuss Day! I want a library that holds classes on how to use the internet for research. I want a library that displays children’s art from local schools (and not photocopied coloring pages). I want a library that has “If you loved this, read this!” recommendations. I want a library with a freaking book club.
I want a library that doesn’t depress me when I enter the doors, and librarians that don’t shush me when I am talking too loud. Besides, there’s no one else in there for me to bother.
See? Very disappointing, and not one thing to do about it. Status Quo will kill the library in town. Or at least make sure it stays comatose and on life support.