IMLS Grants Help Create and Sustain Better Libraries for Everyone

Libraries and museums rely heavily on funding from grants to help supplement their financial needs in hosting events, running programs, and completing special projects in their community. Luckily, there are organizations in place that are dedicated to helping these institutions do the work they need. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is one of many supporters of libraries and museums across the country. Thanks to their contributions, thousands of awards have been distributed.

The Teen Space Every Neighborhood Needs is at the Library

The fact that public libraries hold a wealth of information is something that most people know and appreciate. However, for teens who are being exposed to new ideas for the first time and trying to navigate complicated classes, awkward social lives, and changing bodies, the library becomes an even more valuable resource. Libraries are one of the best places for teens to learn, discover, and grow. Not only are they consistently developing more programs and obtaining materials that would be useful for them, they also have specific groups, events, and sections of the library that are catered specifically to this age group.

Best Library Stories of 2021 So Far

Libraries show there are still some amazing events happening in the world. From budget cuts to pandemic closings, there are a lot of negatives that can overshadow the work that is being done on a daily basis for communities across the country. Sometimes all we need is a break from social media feeds to dive into some feel-good stories. While the year is still months from over, let’s take time to touch on some of the successes that the library community has experienced so far.

Veterans Find Awesome Support at Your Library

If you were to ask me to tell you why libraries are so amazing, I’d have a lot to say. I am, after all, a librarian! However, one aspect of libraries which I really love is that they are great equalizers as entities that protect all Americans’ right to freedom of information. All Americans deserve the right to free speech and low to no cost programming, materials, and services.

Libraries Are The Key To Literacy

It won’t come as a surprise that literacy is important to libraries — after all, they’re the repository of vast quantities of reading materials they want people to be able to use. But there are considerably more reasons for libraries to support literacy efforts. From learning to read so children can read to learn through to work, health, and civic life libraries are focused on making sure everyone can read at their own level.

Libraries Can Help in Times of Stress, Uncertainty, and Burnout

Americans are struggling with excessive stress, anxiety, or burnouts find that it affects all aspects of their lives — from work to social circles and family. This is why many libraries have created initiatives to not only bring awareness to mental health but also ways to maintain good mental health and work through trying times.    

Delightful, Unconventional Library Spaces

Libraries can be beautiful spaces to visit, read, explore, and have some peace of mind. They are usually designed with the patron in mind with many libraries implementing specific design features that make spaces welcoming and accessible. The list is endless when it comes to exploring thoughtfully built library spaces. There are plenty of well-known libraries all around the world featuring classic architecture from ancient times or futuristic, sleek floor plans for the modern-day reader. There is also another type of library that exists and that is one created from the most unexpected places. There are innovative thinkers and supporters of public libraries that transform old buildings or unconventional objects into a public library for the community to use. There’s a lot to explore when it comes to these library spaces and plenty of interesting backstories to dive into.

When the Bookmobile is also a Vaccination Site

The past year has been filled with endless ups and downs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. People all over the world have powered through cycles of quarantines and lockdowns with news of vaccines being a major source of hope for many. As expected, logistics for vaccine distribution and equal access to healthcare are a lot to facilitate. This is one of those tasks that truly takes a village. The Sussex County Public Library has stepped up to serve members of southern Delaware by providing life-saving vaccines through mobile clinics. These efforts are hugely important because they help reach those in the community who may struggle to access healthcare. Through these innovative efforts, the library has demonstrated once again that it is there to help people.

The Modern Librarian Does More Than You Think

The modern librarian does more for their libraries and patrons than reading books and restocking shelves. Librarians are qualified, educated professionals encompassing a wide variety of skills and an even wider variety of roles — many often don’t work with books at all! But yet to many, a stereotype about librarians persists. A plainly-dressed clerk, likely with glasses. They’re carrying a stack of books somewhere, perhaps restocking a shelf. If approached, they may tell you where to find something, or perhaps look up a title in the computer before heading off once again into the labyrinth of shelves or back behind the mighty fortress of the desk. If you make too much noise, they’ll get cranky.

Digital Equity Means More than Just Access to the Internet

Libraries are known for providing many important services and resources to their communities. However, for those who aren’t as familiar with library landscapes, the top things that come to mind that libraries provide are books and computers. This isn’t surprising especially because libraries are major supporters of literacy when it comes to knowing how to read and how to navigate digital spaces. Books and computers are also some of the most commonly seen objects in the library. At first glance, it can be easy for some to assume that these are the focuses and miss out on additional resources like classes, programs, skilled staff, etc. Closing the digital divide has been an important mission that libraries are working to tackle. The rise in technology use and the need for technology on a daily basis has revealed the huge gap that some communities face. This is why libraries are also stepping into new roles and developing new strategies in order to best help library patrons. Libraries are places that provide equity of access for everyone regardless of their own means. Taking a step towards the future and working the better the present involves a dedication towards digital equity.