During digital age, libraries still vital part of community
The digital age is continually evaporating reading materials that we've grown accustomed to having for many years. To some, newspapers, magazines and books are a thing of the past. But not to everyone.
"I like holding an actual book or a newspaper instead of looking at them online," Duane Peterson, the President of the State Bank of Taunton said recently.
The week of April 4-10 in National Library Week. For many, it's just another day. For traditionalists, it's a time to honor a place of solace, adventure or peacefulness.
You don't have to look far to find treasures. You discover them every time you visit a library.
"To me, libraries are a place where anyone can visit and be fulfilled," said Minneota librarian Gail Perrizo. "It’s equal-opportunity for everyone. Libraries are a clearing house for all kinds of information.” In this digital age, libraries have expanded on how they can offer information to people, and it is helpful to everyone in a community."
The quietness of a library where one can let their mind absorb information is important. There aren't too many places where you can lose yourself in a place with mystery, romance, comedy, history and make believe.
It's also an exciting time for children to learn and grow with books.
"As an avid reader and a mom of five children who also enjoy reading, our local library is a resource we treasure very much," said Teresa Myhre. "Having a library allows us to explore so many more books than we could ever afford otherwise. I've never done the math, but we probably read over $100 worth of books each week."
"My kids and I have been going to the Minneota library since they were babies," said Kathy Opdahl. "While on my maternity leaves with both children we would walk to the library multiple times a week. As my children grew older, this became a highlight of their day. Not only did the library have different books than we did at home, or at school, but they also had puzzles, games, movies, magazines amongst other things."
Sure, you can go online and purchase a certain book you are looking for, but what if that book isn't what you expected. Many times a reader will not finish a book that is not compelling enough to hold their interest. And only a few books are ever read more than once. A library can also be incredibly helpful for people with a limited income who may not have access to these things at home.
Many people are under the assumption that the digital age is rendering libraries useless. And while it is true that you can find nearly everything you can imagine on the internet, there are still a myriad of things that a library can offer that typing things into Google on our smartphones and laptops simply can't.
"I don't own a computer and I am homebound," said Polly Janiszeski, who takes advantage of the Minneota Public Library's Outreach program. "I read about three books a week and the library delivers the books to me. The library is very important to me. I'd be lost without them."
Libraries are no longer just about walking in and checking out a book. The Minneota Public Library, as well as many other libraries, offer computer and internet access, audiobooks, DVDs, research material and much more. If the library doesn't have an item on the shelf that you have interest in, chances are that they can get it for you.
"With the interlibrary exchange program, there is rarely a book that we can't get through our library," said Myhre. "This is especially helpful if we discover an author or genre we really like. For example, when I saw that the kids enjoyed books by Mo Willems, I went online and ordered a whole stack of his books to have delivered right to our local library."
Perrizo remembers visiting the local library at a young age.
"The library was located in the back half of the hardware store," she said. "I overheard two adult women discussing their favorite writers. In that moment, I believe, another door into the adventure of books was unlocked for me; writers wrote more than just one book, and people not only had favorite books but favorite authors."
While searching for a specific book on a library shelf, you might find the book you were searching for, or you could find a book that piques your interest even more.
"I personally love going into the library and visiting with other patrons about books they have liked," said Myhre.
"Some of my favorite reads have come from suggestions I was given spontaneously as I browsed the bookstacks."
"I believe libraries are vital as it gives kids/people a reason to get out of the house, learn and explore in a different environment and correlates reading and learning with a fun, peaceful environment," Opdahl said. "Our family absolutely loves the Minneota library."
Besides, not everything you read online is true.