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Celebrate National Library Week

My Opinion
Susan Akers, Guest Writer

I heard someone ask the other day, ‘Are libraries still relevant with the advent of the Internet and e-books?’ For those who haven’t stopped by their libraries in a while, take some time during National Library Week (April 14 through 20) to visit the library and experience the vast array of services, programs and resources there.
With 42 million annual visits to our state’s libraries, Hoosiers of all ages are able to enjoy traditional books, e-books, computer classes, DVDs and CDs. Visitors research, read, share, learn, attend quality programs and use information for lifelong learning and leisure pursuits.
A large number of visitors ask library staff to help them learn how to use their e-reading devices, learn how to operate computers, learn how to better develop resum’s and to apply for jobs online. Untold thousands flock to the library to ask staff about all types of software or to receive assistance in completing e-government forms.
While the recession drove more people to visit their libraries, we need to recognize that libraries were already very busy places, attracting record numbers of visits. The library is a place that is open and welcoming to all regardless of one’s socioeconomic position. It is the place where teens have discovered that the library is a cool place to go while at the same time scores of young parents engage in important childhood literacy programs.
Yes, the library is very relevant today, and it also serves as a ‘living room’ for democracy. Libraries further the convictions of our forefathers that a society flourishes when people have access to information. With resources that serve business owners and entrepreneurs as well as the homeschooled and people with special needs, libraries are uniquely positioned to serve as vital community centers where people connect with others, get help from information professionals and discover new worlds.
Library directors and boards are innovative and resourceful, and they are committed to offering a combination of traditional services and new technologies. We’ll see YOU at the library!
Editor’s note: Susan Akers is the executive director of the Indiana Library Federation. The Harrison County Public Library, in addition to its main branch in Corydon, has locations in Elizabeth, Lanesville and Palmyra. For more information about the Harrison County Public Library, call 738-4110.