Recently there has been a spate of national news stories on the value of libraries to their respective communities. On MSNBC, in December there was a great story about how libraries offer such a strong resource during economic hard times. There were similar stories on CBS, ABC and NPR.
If you are a regular reader of this column, you know that I try to treat topics with a light touch – attempting to use whimsy and humor – to brighten the perception of the staid old library. Well, today I’d like to get a tad serious about a serious topic.
Any library is an asset to the community, and here in Lee County our library is much more than a building with books in it. The library is a full service learning experience. Daily the librarians help patrons search for jobs, set up e-mail addresses, tutor on various software programs and help students with homework assignments. Additionally we partner with several community organizations to offer programs and presentations. We also partner with several national and state wide organizations to offer services that would be unavailable otherwise.
Currently we are partnering with the South Carolina Bar Association to offer free legal advice. Also, the Federal Trade Commission has contacted us to help with the transition to digital television that is to take place on February 17th. Last week the Social Security Administration contacted us to help them offer resources for both Social Security Benefits and Medicare Benefits. True, all of this information is available via the internet or other county resources, but how many places have ALL this information under one roof.