Keep Your New Year’s Resolution at the Library!

Keep Your New Year’s Resolution at the Library!

More than half of Americans make at least one New Year’s Resolution for the year. Each new year can be an exciting time to start fresh. However, many people find it extremely difficult to stick to their New Year’s resolutions. According to the U.S. News and World Report, about 80% of people break their New Year’s promises by mid-February. So, should you even bother to make a New Year’s resolution? If you do choose to set a goal for 2020, how can your library help you?

My opinion is that you should set a goal for this year! I believe that it is important that we each strive for personal growth. Try to make a reasonable goal, give yourself some room for error, and keep yourself surrounded by support.

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Your library can provide excellent support for your goals!

Every January, we are reminded of change, and thinking about the passage of time can inspire us to make positive adjustments to our lives. I want to suggest that public libraries may be the awesome resource you need to succeed this year! I’ve worked as both a children’s librarian and as an adult services librarian. It’s so exciting to tell people about libraries. Often, library visitors (and would-be visitors) don’t realize how much libraries have to offer.

Your library can give you the information, tools, and encouragement that you will likely need to follow through with your New Year’s Resolution. It doesn’t matter whether you want to lose weight, manage your finances more responsibly, or finally learn to play an instrument. Regardless of what type of life change you would like to make, your library can help.

Your friendly neighborhood librarian can help you keep your Resolutions in a couple of helpful — and powerful ways.

Access to helpful materials

In order to succeed in our goals, we must understand what meeting those goals will entail. For example, if you would like to be more environmentally friendly this year, reading books and articles written by environmental experts would be a great place to start!

Libraries have incredible resources and are useful places to find more than just books, magazines, or DVDs. A lot of what libraries have are available online. Ask your librarian about materials that will help you meet your goals. Your library probably provides access to a number of databases and online programs. Usually, you just need your library card number and a PIN to log into the library’s site and find a treasure trove of information.

Use your library card to access the information you need about eating healthily, managing emotions, or landing a new job! If your goal involves gaining a certification, libraries often offer online resources that will allow you to attain credentials for free, or at a very low cost.

Also, keep in mind that your librarian is an information professional. Even if you are looking for a resource or assistance that the library is unable to provide, your librarian can guide you. Librarians love finding answers and sharing information to help others.

Powerful programming

Most people are pretty familiar with the idea that libraries have summer reading programs and storytimes for children. Library programming definitely does not end there! Would you like to be more creative, or to get in shape? As a public librarian, I’ve hosted year-round adult programs from pottery classes to yoga sessions. At my library, these programs were led by professionals in the community who were certified, if required in the situation, to instruct others.

Typically, libraries post a schedule of upcoming events online, as well as distribute paper calendars of library events to visitors. See what activities the library offers and think about how these events could help you meet your goal. For example, my library invited a professional nutritionist to offer a series of classes about making the right food choices. A similar set of classes or programs can definitely keep you on track if your New Year’s Resolution is related to physical health!

If you don’t see any upcoming programs which appeal to you or support your New Year’s resolution, let your librarian know! It is very helpful for librarians to have this feedback because communication with community members (like you) tells us what we need to offer

Encouragement and interaction

When you challenge yourself to make changes in life, having support from others makes a huge difference! I would encourage anyone who wants to stick to their New Year’s goals to find like-minded and uplifting individuals. A great way to do this is to make connections at your library.

You may meet others with similar goals by attending the library programs just discussed. Libraries often have groups that meet regularly. Some of these groups are created by the library; other groups may be led by library volunteers. Check with your library to see if there are any groups that are aligned with your goals and are open to new members. You can also ask if you are able to use the library as a resource and meeting space for your own group.

By meeting with a group, you invite positivity and insight. Joining a group is an awesome active effort to tackle your goal with a team, as opposed to on your own. Meeting with a group can add a level of accountability, and regular meetings also serve as great reminders to stick to your New Year’s resolution!

A few final thoughts:

I believe that libraries can help in some way with any question, obstacle, or goal. Whether you need help sticking to a New Year’s resolution or you need to find information or inspiration for another reason, count on your library to help. Libraries are not 100 percent perfect. If you look around your library, it’s rather likely that you will see a book that’s on the wrong shelf. (Sometimes visitors accidentally put a book in the wrong place, and while we check the shelves regularly, it’s impossible to check every shelf each minute!)

Just like a library, no person alive today is perfect. I think it’s important to try your best to meet your goals, but be aware that you are human and incorporate some self-love and understanding. If you have a setback or make a mistake, that doesn’t mean that it’s time to give up! Use it as a learning opportunity if you can, and get back on track.