I love libraries.
This probably will come at shock to no one that knows me personally, I mean I spent years of my life going to school to work in a library one day, my first stop in a new city is always a library to get a library card, and I am always encouraging people to check out their local library.
Well just over a week ago I got to experience opening a brand new library to a community that was waiting. This area of town has been growing rapidly and have been speaking out for a library for years and after a few delays were finally able to open. Now this opening wasn’t what we probably would have hoped as we couldn’t have a big celebration, we have to limit the amount of people in the building and most of the community centre that we are situated in won’t be opening for some time.
But we are still open.
Libraries are a lot more than books, but there are now over 30,000 more books in this community than there was before. Our meeting rooms and spaces can’t be gathered in, but the building is open to come in and share stories, find out about programs in the community, and gather information.
Digital programs don’t need a space even. There are book clubs, storytimes, english conversation circles, and speakers on a variety of topics that can all be accessed online. The phone lines and email addresses are open for questions on how to use digital platforms to learn languages, take courses, and read ebooks and if we are asked to close our buildings again, all those things can still continue.
The joy I have felt in the past few weeks is unmatched. Every person who comes in the building is so excited that we are open and they have a library in the community. We have noticed that most of the people are walking from their homes that are close by and include everyone from young families, to teenagers (even on their lunch breaks at the two high schools close by), to older people in their retirement communities asking for pamphlets to place in their lobby.
Now I look forward to the days when we can be holding large events, when we can use the woodshop, art studio, and community kitchen in the community centre for programs, and when I will see everyone’s smiles under their masks, but for now I am so happy for what we have.
I am excited to be a part of a new space in a community, a place that does include a lot of books, but also has the ability to be so much more than just a repository of information, but an important place to gather, connect, learn, and grow.