2013-04-17 / Education

Libraries are better and busier than ever

National Library Week, April 14-20, provides an opportunity to celebrate the national treasures found in small and large communities across the country. Carroll County is fortunate to have three public libraries, housed in historic buildings but containing all the modern technology trappings of contemporary, vibrant libraries. The Camden-Jackson Township Public Library serves Jackson Township and, by contract, Liberty Township. The Flora-Monroe Township Public Library serves Monroe Township and, by contract, Democrat Township. The Delphi Public Library serves Deer Creek, Adams, Jefferson, and Rock Creek townships.

Some have posed the question: “Are libraries still relevant with the advent of the Internet and e-books?” Those who have not stopped by their libraries in a while are always surprised to learn about the wide array of services, programs, and resources that are provided, in addition to the traditional books and reference services. In other words, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”

Some 42 million annual visits to Indiana’s libraries allow people of all ages to benefit by enjoying traditional books, ebooks, computer classes, DVDs, and CDs. Visitors research, read, share, learn, attend quality programs, and use information for lifelong learning and leisure pursuits. A large number of visitors ask library staff to help them learn how to use their e-reading devices, operate computers, develop better resumes, and apply for jobs online. Others come to the library to ask staff about all types of software or to receive assistance in completing egovernment forms.

In 2012, the Delphi library attracted 89,033 visitors, the Flora library had 35,493 visitors, and there were 5,848 visits to the Camden library. That means residents made more than 130,000 visits to the county libraries to take advantage of the resources, services, and programs at the county’s libraries.

Although the recession drove more people to visit their libraries, libraries were already busy places, attracting record numbers of visits. The library is a place that is open and welcoming to all regardless of one’s socioeconomic position. It is the place where teens have discovered that the library is a cool place to go while at the same time scores of young parents engage in important childhood literacy programs.

The library also serves as a “living room” for democracy. Libraries further the convictions of our forefathers that a society flourishes when people have access to information. With resources that serve business owners and entrepreneurs, people with special needs, as well as K-12, college, adult, homeschool students, libraries are uniquely positioned to serve as vital community centers where people connect with others, get help from information professionals, and discover new worlds.

Libraries are innovative, constantly evolving, and often lead the way with new technologies and services. Carroll County libraries are no exception and are striving to keep residents connected with the latest technology available. At the Camden Public Library, patrons can check out Kindles preloaded with ebooks. The Camden library has added several new computers, too, for easy and free Internet service.

In response to community needs solicited for its long range plan, the Flora Public Library is renewing its focus on programming in the areas of life skills and technology, including a series of workshops on ereaders and downloading ebooks, and new computer classes.

At the Delphi Public Library, patrons can download ebooks, audiobooks, and music, and check out a laptop to use within the library. The Delphi library also has a digital media lab, which contains audio and video recording equipment and software that is available to use.

Not only are Indiana libraries relevant, they are also an investment in the overall quality of life in the community and its citizens. Libraries are among the most effective of all public services, serving more than two-thirds of the public with less than two percent of all tax dollars. The market value of the range of services that Indiana libraries provide is more than $568 million.

Visit a community library and see the vast array of materials, services, and programs that are provided through tax dollars. For more information and to see about getting a library card, call 574-686-2120 (Camden), 574-967-3912 (Flora), or 765-564-2929 (Delphi).

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