Another (Very Important) Library

Posted: December 13, 2019 9:00:00 AM CST

Hopefully, if you’re reading this blog, you’re a fan of the Mary and Jeff Bell Library. Our library here at TAMU-CC is an important resource for your academic work. It’s also a great place to study, look at terrific art exhibits, hop on a computer and get those assignments done, or grab a print job on your way to class.

But there’s another library that is also very important: our local public library. What’s public about a public library? It’s a library … for the public! Communities all over the United States spend tax dollars to fund local libraries, where people can find books, internet access and computers, ebooks and audiobooks, music and more, as well as programs that are fun for kids and adults.

Before the invention of the public library, if you couldn’t afford to buy a book, and didn’t have friends who could, you simply couldn’t read it. Think about that for a moment! Public libraries have done a lot over the years to level the playing field for people of any socioeconomic background when it came to access to information.

So, full disclosure: my very first library job was as a shelver at the public library in my hometown of Irving, TX. This is where the seed was planted for me to become a librarian, I think. I loved books but I also had a sense that the work being done around me was important. It didn’t matter if your family could afford to buy books or music or magazines, because you could get a card for the public library for free and find what you needed there. Having access to books meant improved literacy and better grades in school for kids. Adults who wanted to learn something or find an answer to a question (this was the Dark Ages before YouTube and Google and Wikipedia) could visit the library. People from all walks of life gathered at the library as a community center.

What about today, then? Now we DO have YouTube and Wikipedia. Do we still need a public library? Well, there are still many people who cannot afford to buy books but who want to read. There are also people who love to read but don’t want to fill their houses with books, so they check them out of the library instead. There are people who can’t afford broadband internet but who need to get online to apply for a job or submit paperwork for financial aid, to name just a couple of examples. And libraries still provide programs that are fun, thought-provoking, and community-building.

The Corpus Christi Public Library (link: https://www.cctexas.com/library), in addition to having books, videos, ebooks, audiobooks, and other materials to check out, has meeting rooms for the public and non-profit organizations to use. They have a great genealogy department where you can research family history. They offer programs like book signings, book clubs, chess tournaments, art exhibits, holiday events (including a Harry Potter-themed Yule Ball coming up on December 21st), game nights and crafting classes. See all of their Fall 2019 events here (link: https://www.cctexas.com/sites/default/files/Fall2019.pdf).

Why write a blog post about public libraries? I find that often, in these days of the Internet and online information, people have forgotten about the great value of public libraries, the contributions they make to society, and that way they have of helping you save money but still read (or listen to) all those books on your list!

If you don’t have a card for your local public library, get one! It’s free and it can open up so many possibilities.

Image: "Biblioteca di Melzo" by Pietro Corraini is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0

By: Lisa Louis

Category: Books & More, Library Hacks, Things to Do