A new year is a time to make resolutions. Often those resolutions involve losing weight, exercising, or saving money. What about resolutions as a library user? The library is a community fixture that is ofen overlooked and taken for granted, but the new year is a perfect opportunity to consider ways that you can support your local library.
- Volunteer. Most libraries operate on a limited budget and extra help around the library is always needed. School libraries also need volunteers. Contact your local library or join the local Friends of the Library group in your area.
- Donate. Most libraries accept donations of books and other media as well as cash. If the donations do not fit within the collection, the materials are given to the Friends group to sell during the monthly book sales. These book sales raise money for the Friends group in order to put together the numerous library programs, such as summer reading programs, that are organized by the Friends group.
- Participate. Most public libraries host lectures, art exhibits, performances, and storytimes as well as offer classes about computesr, knittings, dog trainings, and other subjects. Check the calendar for your local library to see what events are coming up.
- Speak up for libraries. Most public and school libraries operate as a part of the local municipality or school district and budget cuts are always a concern. You can contact your city councilor or school board member about the issue or attend the next school board or city council meeting during which the budget will be discussed. Subscribe to the @ Your Library newsletter to stay informed of library issues. You can help to exapnd the users of the library by inviting friends and family to library events.
- Respect the library materials. Library materials are a community resource and should be treated with care. Make an effort to return your materials on time so that others can use the materials. Follow proper handling procedures for books and media and enforce those procedures with children.
- Visit your library. This last resolution may seem obvious, but it might be the most important. Library staff track how many users visit the library, how often services are used, how well events are attended, and how often each material is used. The more a library is used, the more clearly it is seen as an asset when it comes to budget discussions. The more you use the library, the more your children, friends, and neighbors will notice and become users themselves.
For those readers in the Albuquerque area, the following library systems have Friends of the Library volunteer groups:
- Friends for the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Library
- Friends of the Library of Rio Rancho
- Friends of the Santa Fe Public Library
- Friends of Corrales Library
- Friends of the Placitas Library
These same local libraries also maintain calendars of upcoming events:
- Albuquerque/Bernalillo County events
- Rio Rancho events
- Santa Fe events
- Corrales events
- Placitas events
The library is the backbone of community programs, the literacy center in schools, and a place for research and study in universities. The new year provides us with an opportunity to support local libraries in many different ways. Most importantly, keep using your libraries in 2013!
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