I just had a great conversation with one of our patrons who is currently interviewing for a new profession in the healthcare industry. She has been stopping by to fine tune and print resumes before each interview over the past two weeks. Over the last two years, she has been a silent, smiling library user. She would pop in during the late afternoon, find a quiet corner, open her laptop, and work on her online classes until closing. Last year, she would pop in before closing to pick up her teen daughter who would come to the library after school to work on homework and hang out with friends.
When I reflect upon this particular patron, I realize that she is only one example of a library user of the 21st century. She doesn’t ask for the latest bestseller or ask us to recommend a good book to help her can peaches for the first time. She doesn’t want to check out a blockbuster film or even a classic Jimmy Stewart flick for the weekend. Instead she is using other less tangible things that we provide like study space, FREE WiFi, and copy services. These are things that are here when you need them, but things that you might not remember that we can provide for busy parents, nontraditional college students, and job seekers.
So the next time you hear a news story with dire predictions about the death of public libraries, remember the variety of resources, spaces and materials we provide for our patrons and our community. Oh yeah, and we can still recommend a good book, set you up with a funny movie, and get you several books about canning peaches. We really mean it when we say… New Madison Public Library; Something for Everyone!