Have you taken the Pew Research Center’s Library User Quiz? My result - Library Lover!!
“Library Lovers are the heaviest public library users, as well as libraries’ greatest supporters. They represent about 10% of the overall U.S. population.”
I have a card catalog in my room at home, so this is none too surprising, but apparently I can do better. David Wisely visits libraries while he’s on vacation, and he collects library cards; Jennifer Roberts fundraised over $300,000 to reopen libraries in Josephine County, after her 7-year-old sobbed when entire library system closed. Olly Neal’s school librarian went over and above the call of duty to nurture his reading habit, even though he was sneaking out books that were free to borrow! These stories are reaffirming, and Library Lovers Month is a good time to show support and advocate for the libraries that you love and/or work in with both qualitative and quantitative evidence of their impact on communities and individuals.
- Qualitative – Find library love stories in the collection of Readers' love letters to libraries, compiled by the Guardian, and the NYC Neighborhood Library Awards, and incorporate one into your library elevator speech.
- Quantitative – Look at heartening data on library usage in Pew’s recent report on How Americans Value Public Libraries in Their Communities. One of many findings, it notes that “95% [of Americans] say that public libraries are important because they promote literacy and a love of reading”.
Promoting literacy and imparting a love of reading is a huge measure of success for us librarians. When a patron tells me that they love a book I recommended, or that their child loves to read because I gave them a stack of comic books when they said they didn’t, I feel like a winner – high fives, yesses, and all of that.
Let’s be honest, though, sometimes you love libraries so much that you want one in your home! I mentioned earlier that I have a card catalog; it is mostly filled with toiletries and costume jewelry, but I left five or six drawers full of cards, for nostalgia’s sake. I used to have a personal library of over 1000 books, and I kept half of them in my classroom and half of them at home. Maybe, library lover, you are like me and we are like Elizabeth Brown from Sarah Stewart and David Small's fantastic book The Library, with volumes climbing the parlor walls and blocking the front door. If that’s the case, check out Apartment Therapy’s 5 Ways to Fit a Home Library into a Small Space and then take a look at GradHacker’s 7 Apps for Cataloguing Your Home Library, by Emily VanBuren.
To be even more bracingly honest, nothing could be more true (for me) than #2 on Hello Giggles’ How to Tell You're a True Library Lover - “You have paid more in library fines than you have in parking fines.” Points to the article’s author, Becca Rose; the public library was my first experience with a collection agency! But what I love about libraries in the digital age is that fines can be a thing of your past. Download audio and e-books, and they will disappear from your device once the lending period is over. Add that to the online access you get to databases and periodicals, and you’ve got two more reasons to fall in love.
Are you a library lover? Check out Lia’s post from Monday about people who have gotten married or engaged at a library!
Why do you love libraries? Let us know in the comment section below!
Card catalog img via Elizabeth Skene, Wikimedia Commons