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Why Libraries Matter

Updated: Jun 6, 2021

Libraries are more than just a receptacle for books, media, tech. Libraries are made for people.

During our Library Month celebrations, I hope we stop to take the time to ask the important question: ”Why do we do this?”

It is easy to get bogged down in the minutia of all the things that need to be done and all the things that plop on your plate last minute. Librarians, I just ask for a few minutes of your time, for you to slow down and follow the timely advice from ALA’s latest Library Worklife April issue. Take a moment—even just for five minutes. Yes, there are deadlines, books to be shelved, messages to be answered. However, they can wait for five minutes. Quiet your mind. Take a deep breath. Now look around your library. See beyond the shelves, the computers, and the giant bottle of sanitizer. Really see your library. Think of all the minds and lives that have been touched, enriched, and made better by all the many books and pieces of media or tech in our library. And recognize that you are a part of that.

Andrew Carnegie, the father of our modern public library system, invested in libraries so that ALL, no matter their economic status, could have access to libraries’ resources. Again, libraries are created for people. They are one of the great equalizers in our communities. Providing access to information and enrichment to ALL is at the core of the library’s ethos. Indeed, libraries are so much more than just a warehouse. Libraries are a revolution, a movement.

So, librarians, I hope you take your five minutes today. And I hope you take time to do it again, regularly. This April I hope you feel recognized, rejuvenated, and refocused. Know that you are not alone, that we are a part of something bigger and greater--something we may not realize until we pause, take a step back, and remember why we do this, why libraries matter.

Blog post by Sarah Sansbury

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