Saturday, April 16, 2011

National Library Week April 10-16

Boston Public Library
Traditional library carried books, manuscripts, anything in print form. It is difficult to own all the books, either to read or to refer. In the modern age we see libraries in schools colleges and city libraries. I remember my first visit to my college library in a town in India. I was amazed at the varied collection. Since then, I would say, I was hooked on visiting library to get reference material for the class or just browse magazines, which otherwise, I am sure; I would not have been exposed to. Back then library was the first source to find reference. Public libraries play an important role in today’s society. They provide access to books and materials that might otherwise be unavailable, and they offer an inexpensive source of information and entertainment. From fiction to biographies, references materials to daily magazines and newspapers, books on tape to DVDs, there is something in the library that will interest nearly everyone. In the internet age too, libraries play an important role, they help with the access to computers and internet, provide conference rooms free of charge for public welfare programs conducted there, have quiet rooms for small groups or individuals to study. Summer reading programs are very popular for children of all ages. They even conduct story time to toddlers, teen club activities, adult small talk groups, added to these they even conduct special computer classes to the seniors. 
 According to the Public Library Association website, there are more than 16,000 libraries in the United States and also report a 23 percent increase in use from 2006 through 2009. The concept of library is not new; Romans had some collections but were not for lending purposes. During the 9th century some of the European countries had the facility for the rich and common people could not afford to make use of it. In USA, Benjamin Franklin started a lending library with a few like-minded people. In 1848, Boston opened its first large public library; today’s location was built in 1895. During the National Library week I happened to visit the library, I was surprised to see such a huge library; it does not look like a mere library with books looks more like a palace with galleries filled with murals and architecture. The hall way, the staircase, the galleries, decorated ceilings have charmed me; I easily lost track of the time I was in the building. According the Boston library website they have more than 6.1 million books and 1.7 million rare books and manuscripts for research purpose.
It is easy to find a library today in any city, and is easier to get a library card, and borrow the books for free. In the digital age, libraries not only provide with print books, they lend digital books meaning download books. Public libraries select library materials based on their patron’s request, they have collection for people of diverse backgrounds and with a variety of interests. With the inter-library loan system, even if your library does not have a particular book your local librarian will find a library that will lend the book, it’s that easy.
       Today’s recession is causing major federal funding cuts to public libraries. Hope our government considers the importance of vast education the libraries provide. The resources in libraries are useful and help everyone regardless of age, gender, and race or income level. In most cases, books offer in-depth knowledge that is not available online. April 10-16 is National Library week, but that does not mean we should not celebrate libraries all year. Let us all support our libraries; I can’t think what it would be like to be without them. Can’t we all be united for the love of books and reading?

“Everything you need for better future and success has already been written. And guess what? All you have to do is go to the library.”
- Henri Frederic Amiel (Swiss writer 1821-1881)
"Knowledge is free at the library. Just bring your own container."
- Unknown

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