This summer, I spent quite a bit of time traveling in Oregon and Idaho. I stopped by public libraries when I had the chance and was a little surprised at what I witnessed. It appears the days of quiet areas filled with people reading books, magazines, and newspapers are fading fast. What I witnessed was a complete transformation of libraries and librarian duties. No more little ladies sitting quietly cataloging books, or sshhing patrons when they spoke out loud. There weren’t tables filled with students studying from encyclopedias or textbooks even; those days have seemed to vanish in thin air. When I struck up a conversation with the librarians, we talked in regular voices, and even laughed out loud!
Librarians shared with me that their jobs are no longer stable and secure. They worry that libraries will soon be closed due to budget cuts and the fact that people use the Internet for all research and reading can be done using phones and tablets. Now librarians are event coordinators, trying to find activities and interests that will bring patrons into libraries for entirely different reasons. I understand that as well. At our high school, I wouldn’t have much of a job to do if I kept up being an “old school” librarian, keeping it silent and all about books.
Some of the new library offerings include sidewalk drawing contests, programs teaching about outdoor education, chess clubs, video game competitions, how-to training on a wide variety of topics, such as knitting, beekeeping, selling crafts online, making a lego sphere, etc., art lessons, adult coloring books, music lessons, and even concerts. Imagine twenty years ago being able to go to your local library and listen to a rock concert! WOW
Things change, and I will try to change with them. Change is difficult and many people resist, but in the end, most change is a good thing—Continue watching the library student center to see what changes I will be trying this school year.
library.wyo.gov is your link to the gateway into our state’s library system.