I lived in a town that didn’t have a library, and it was terrible. Of course, I didn’t know how awful it was then. Growing up, I was content with Saturday morning cartoons and Sunday afternoon movies, trips to larger towns for cassettes by bands like Bon Jovi and Def Leppard, and to comic book stores to stock up on the multiple holographic covers of X-Men #1. I savored those chances to absorb other media, but I didn’t realize what I was really missing until later in life. I even had to get a BA and then a Master’s in English before really discovering what libraries are and what they mean to the community. Now that I work in one, and since National Library Week is this week, I think it’s time to make known what I’ve discovered and what people can still discover about libraries.
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I, like many people who haven’t frequented a library, thought it was just a place to get books. In my defense, look at how librarians are portrayed on television, sitting behind a desk, stamping books, and shushing people. A lot has changed. At the very least, we scan books now thanks to the barcode technology used in many fine retail establishments like Kroger. I also learned the many ways that libraries could help communities.
Sure, we have books, but we also have movies. Patrons can get up to twenty DVDs on their card, and we have one of the widest selections of movies anywhere, from scary to sentimental dramas to documentaries. If waiting for a movie to come on a streaming service is too much hassle, check the library to see what can make your movie night.
I used to go to many Waldenbooks and comic book stores back in the day, but the library has made those sojourns obsolete. Why buy all the books I want to read when the library can get them at no cost to the patron? And as a fan of graphic novels (stories told in a comic format), the library has a plethora to choose from and subscription services like Hoopla mean I can get my Spider-Man or Hulk fix on my phone. All I need is an internet connection or a library card.
But there’s so much more. Need a hotspot to get online? Check out the library. Need seeds for your garden? Check out your library. Need some bakeware to make the perfect cake? Check. I could go on and on, and it feels like I may have. But one of my biggest regrets in life (besides not investing in Microsoft) is not getting to a library sooner. People might attack the library as just a place to get books and possibly be silenced, but it is a place that is there to help its patrons find any information and ideas they need. It is a place to share stories and ideas, to improve lives and build community. I came to the information party late, but I’m thankful that my home county now has a library. I hope it continues to grow because I know how libraries can benefit communities. I might be a late convert, but the library has made me a believer that has nothing to do with my paycheck and everything to do with seeing firsthand how a strong library makes a strong community.
Something else the library has? Movies!
On Wednesday, April 26th, at 2 p.m., join the Kentucky Picture Show for a trip back to the last day of summer vacation in 1962, where friends Curt (Richard Dreyfuss), Steve (Ronny Howard), Terry (Charles Martin Smith) and John (Paul Le Mat) cruise the streets of small-town California while a mysterious disc jockey (Wolfman Jack) spins classic rock n’ roll tunes that serve as a soundtrack for one wild night.
On Wednesday, April 26th, at 6 p.m., the KY Picture Show at Night will introduce viewers to Otto Anderson (Tom Hanks), a grumpy widower whose only joy comes from criticizing and judging his exasperated neighbors. When a lively young family moves in next door, he meets his match in quick-witted and very pregnant Marisol, leading to an unexpected friendship that will turn his world upside-down.