State Libraries: A Surprising Destination!

While most people know about the Library of Congress, individual state libraries are an unusual, and potentially exciting, discovery for many people. Similar to the Library of Congress, state libraries typically started as either purchased or donated collections that were kept on-hand to give legislators ready access to research materials. Since their genesis, however, many state libraries have expanded their purview to include serving as historical archives, resources for public and university libraries and library workers, administrators of grant funding, service providers for people with disabilities, and repositories for various government documents, and more. What you may not know is that many are also lovely places for locals and tourists to visit; besides their collections (which occasionally contain some truly weird items), state libraries host entertaining and educational programs, display fascinating exhibits, and may be housed in building of architectural interest. Here are some wonderful examples of experiences found in state libraries across the United States:

The Library is Our Center for the Arts

The idea of a “Center for the Arts” conjures up images of everything from cavernous theatres sitting proudly on some prestigious learning institute’s campus to small galleries springing up somewhere downtown offering space to local productions and creators. But did you happen to think of your local library when considering this phrase? Libraries offer more than shelves of books and highly-trained reference staff. They also are vibrant community centers serving to help and host local creators, interest groups, and organizations in the creation and display of artistic expression. For many Americans, the local library is the only gallery, performance space, or collaboration space in town. So the next time you wonder where the pulse of local creative spirit for your town is, consider the nexus point that is your library.

Don't Let Me Lie To You

Did you know that if I try to share and spread fake news as a regular American citizen then my posts will be fact-checked and possibly even banned by Facebook? But, did you know that if I share that same fake news on EveryLibrary’s Facebook then it will be allowed to proliferate and spread to our 300,000 followers and we can even run high-priced ads to highly targeted Americans and spread that misinformation even further?

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.

Libraries Fight Illiteracy

Illiteracy is still a major problem in the United States. As most librarians know, the ability to read and write is tied to nearly every activity in modern society. You have to know how to read in order to apply for jobs, to understand healthcare or properly take prescription or over the counter medicine, to take part in social media, or simply to participate in many social opportunities. Literacy is the foundation to build essential skills to perform better in school and develop an interest in becoming a lifelong learner. It has a direct impact on one’s personal growth, economic welfare, and long-term well-being.

Get Healthier at Your Library

You may know that library staff can help you find the most authoritative evidence-based information about matters of personal health. Maybe you’ve even phoned your local library to find out more about a prescription your doctor gave you or visited the library to check out some diet and nutrition books. Have you noticed that your library could very well be offering you other great ways to get and stay healthy with programs they offer for adult members of your community?

Dear Solopreneur, You Are Not Alone!

Launching a small business can be hard especially if you’re a solopreneur. How do you compete on a larger scale while having to do it all yourself? How do you find leads while also learning the skills like marketing, understanding tax-law, or understanding market trends and data? Where can you find a quiet co-working space to work that has high-speed internet and a whole world of information within reach? Most importantly, how can you access all of that without blowing through your start-up funds?

Eleanor Roosevelt and the Importance of Libraries

On April 1st, 1939 in Washington D.C., Eleanor Roosevelt gave a compelling speech on the importance of libraries. The content of that speech still rings true today. In fact, this speech was given in the years following the Great Depression and libraries played an important role in the lives of millions of Americans during those troubled years just in much the same way that libraries have played an important role in the years following the Great Recession.  

First Steps to Jump-Starting Your Curiosity

Curiosity is a trait the brings us closer to the world. When we wonder, we invent new connections in our brain, connections that give meaning to our inner lives. It is Albert Einstein who, in Life magazine, wrote that “The important thing is not to stop questioning; curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when contemplating the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of the mystery every day. The important thing is not to stop questioning; never lose a holy curiosity.” And yet, despite the importance of curiosity, many ply their everyday routines with little to no impetus to explore. Some of these people are merely comfortable as human trains rolling along their tracks, while others haven’t the know-how to veer off the common road. As a librarian, one of my goals is to encourage people to engage in curiosity. It’s also a topic of personal interest — I like to be surrounded by people who exist in a world that’s incomplete. That being the case, I’ve put a bit of thought into how to encourage curiosity in others. To that end, here are some ways to get going:

AudioFile Magazine’s Annual Best Listening for Kids and Families

Wanting to find the best children’s audiobooks is a goal many libraries and families share. Excellent audiobooks for kids can open new storybook awareness, of course. They can also introduce young listeners to the sounds of voices beyond the ones they find familiar, pronouncing words that rarely enter everyday conversations, and providing diversions while stuck in the back seat of a car or alone in bed after lights out.