Our Pine Island Library joins libraries in schools, campuses and communities nationwide in celebrating the many ways libraries are transforming their communities every day through the services and invaluable expertise they offer. In 2016, the Pine Island library welcomed over 47,000 visitors, so clearly this community resource is well used and well loved.
April 9-15 is National Library Week, a time to highlight the changing role of libraries, librarians and library workers. Libraries aren't only a place of quiet study, but also creative and engaging community centers where people can practice using new technologies, and share time together with book discussions, and with crafts such as beading or card making.
Libraries of all types are evolving to meet the needs of the communities they serve. Elected officials, small business owners, students and the public at large depend upon libraries and the resources they offer to address the needs of their communities. By providing such resources as e-books and technology classes, materials for English-language learners, programs for job seekers or a safe haven in times of crisis, libraries and librarians transform their communities.
"The library embraces the entire community, offering unlimited opportunities for personal growth and lifelong learning," said Ellen Ballard, president of the Friends of the Library. "Libraries level the playing field for people of any age who are seeking the information and access to technologies that will improve their quality of life."
Libraries also offer something unique to their communities, the expertise of individual librarians. Librarian Linda Kroeker said that the Pine Island staff assists patrons in downloading software to read e-books and offer guidance in many software programs. Librarians are the "go to" people for sorting through the potentially overwhelming mass of information bombarding today's digital society. This is especially crucial when access to reliable and trustworthy data is more important than ever.
Florida has 555 public libraries; 15 of which are in Lee County, including a Talking Books Library. In a response to proposed federal funding cuts, American Library Association President Julie Todaro said, "Libraries leverage the tiny amount of federal funds they receive through their states into an incredible range of services for virtually all Americans everywhere to produce what could well be the highest economic and social 'ROI' in the entire federal budget.
"America's more than 120,000 public, school, college and university and many other libraries aren't piles of archived books. They're trusted centers for technology, job counseling, retraining, veterans services, entrepreneurship, education, teaching and learning and free inquiry at the core of communities in every state in the country . And they're staffed by the original search engines: skilled and engaged librarians."
First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April.
For more information, visit the Pine Island Library at 10701 Russell Road in Bokeelia or see the library's Website at www.leegov.com/library/branches/pi.
The library is open Tuesday through Saturday.