Westerly Sun Column | Celebrate National Library Week This Week

April 09, 2024

There are very few places where — regardless of race, sex, age, or income — you can spend time without paying an entrance cost or membership fee. Very few places you can come for help with research, computer questions, or other requests for information without the expectation of payment. Very few places where you can spend an entire day busily working, or, alternately, where you can go and simply exist, and nobody will question your right to be there. For many, the library is this space. This week, from April 8 to 13, is National Library Week, in which we celebrate and promote our nation’s wonderful libraries, and the many services and resources they provide!

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I have a deep respect for libraries. As a librarian, I’m clearly a bit biased, but since I spend 40 hours a week in this space, I’m also something of an expert! I can tell you, libraries truly offer something for every person in the community. Our technology department will help with everything from learning to use Microsoft Excel, to setting up your new computer, to creating a resume. In our Makerspace, you can convert your records and cassettes, or slides and negatives into digital formats. You can create something beautiful with our Glowforge, or mend something old with our sewing machine. When it comes to checking out materials, we offer so much more than books and movies: we have educators that check out themed backpacks with resources to engage their students, worried pet-owners who borrow our trail cameras to help track down their missing cat, tired parents of restless kids borrowing museum passes, and hundreds of people growing their own vegetables with seeds from our seed library. Some folks visit us for complicated research questions or help accessing a rare book, and others are simply interested in a warm space to sit and charge their phone.

On any given week, you can count on the library hosting upwards of 30 programs/events for various age groups, from hobby groups like the Westerly Writers Group, Dungeon and Dragons groups, or Knit and Crochet club, to lectures and book discussions led by the Dante Society, Master Gardeners, and more. With the exception of fundraisers, we don’t charge for any of our program, nor do we require you to be a resident or card holder!

Whether you’re a local, or reside somewhere else completely, I hope you’ll take the time to visit your library, sign up for a library card (if you haven’t already), and check out what they have to offer; if you have the means, consider making a donation to the library, to help support the programs and services they offer. If you make an online or in-person donation to the library this week, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a Swag Bag, which includes Westerly Library & Wilcox Park branded canvas tote bag, long-sleeve t-shirt, insulated tumbler and hat — so you can rep Westerly Library no matter where you go!

by Cassie Skobrak, Adult Services Librarian

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