Libraries in Crisis? (Maybe not so much…) – an Addendum

Libraries expand beyond books – !

So…
A week after I linked-back to a Huffington Post feature series on “Libraries in Crisis,” the Detroit News ran an article (featuring interviews with Ferndale Library staff) detailing how, in the face of shrinking tax revenues and the volatile future caused by economic downturns, -libraries are surviving by evolving into “defacto community centers.”

I touched on this subject via this post – but really, that’s what ours and many other libraries have become, not just a place for books and DVDs, but a community center – where you can find insight, entertainment and opportunities to connect with your neighbors (tripled the amount of special/community programs we have offered to the public, per month, since 2008. …) And on top of that, we can be a particularly tranquil computer lab (if you tune out the occasional crying toddler who isn’t ready to leave the library, yet, with his Elmo DVDs). But, yes, patrons can utilize our dozens of public computers to assist your personal needs (job search? resumes? research? homework?) – as well as free Wi-Fi throughout the building, as well as faxing/xeroxing/scanning…

Part of our survival, according to David L. Ewick, director of the Southfield library, (as quoted inside Shawn D. Lewis’ article), is that: “Nobody else is going to do it.” There’s no commercial gain for the programming libraries offer – “We don’t put on programs for the financial gain, but to help others.”

Read the full article here… and hear from our director, Kate Pohjola, who assures that the FPL staff:  “is very open to trying new things….We want to see if they’ll attract new people to the library, or bring back those folks that haven’t been here in a while. The community has gotten used to, expects and supports creative and innovative programming.”

Some of our unique offerings include visits from Dan The Creature Man, Animal Behaviorist Motivational Speaker, who, during our Halloween SPOOKTACULAR party, offered a meet and greet for young readers open to viewing (and petting) a range of creepy crawlers and scaly reptiles.

As part of our Summer Concert Series – The Bridge Project, a modern jazz ensemble specializing in original arrangements and compositions by contemporary Michigan (based) jazz composers, warmed the library on an early June evening with their classy cuts and brassy swoons – as well as providing education and insight behind the pieces, their structure and compositional nuances.

And of course, there’s our various book clubs – including Queer For Books – a group of readers discussing literature for/by/about the LGBT community (for which we recently acquired a small collection of books, through funds raised at last summer’s book club benefit).

Thanks for checking us out…

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