Libraries Lead: Three Surprising Ways Librarians Are Creating Change in Their Communities

April 10, 2018 / by Lydia Koehn

Libraries lead in language learning. National Library WeekThis National Library Week, we’re honoring the legacy of libraries as educational trailblazers. For National Library Workers’ Day today, we’re sharing three surprising ways that librarians across the globe are leading innovation in their communities.

 

Libraries lead in education and training

Libraries are centers of knowledge and one of the best ways to assist patrons is to teach them.

We asked Sarah Nagelbush, one of our former librarians on staff, to share her favorite part about being a librarian.

“I loved helping people learn how to use their devices — from computers to smartphones and everything in between. My favorite memory is that of an older couple who had gotten a new smartphone and weren't sure how to use it. Over three half-hour sessions, I was able to show them around the phone and how to take advantage of the library's own electronic resources.”

Today, libraries are not just centers to get research done for a school project or to find a summer beach read — they offer trainings, resources, labs, and makerspaces where patrons can experiment and collaborate with the newest library resources, including 3D printers, movie-making equipment, photo-editing programs, and engineering materials.

Libraries are also leading Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs in their communities with access to digital resources and training for both young and older learners, including collaborative coding events and social gaming tournaments.

 

Libraries lead in diversity and inclusion

Librarians around the world are asking how they can engage with all members of the community. Staff are reaching out to minority groups and non-traditional organizations to find out how they can better: 

  • support diverse communities,
  • conduct inclusive library staffing,
  • and address the needs of homeless populations.

We are passionate about empowering libraries to engage with diverse communities through language and culture learning. That's why we partner with libraries around the world to offer communities free access to language and culture courses.

Pine River Library in Colorado was surprised to find just how many people within their rural population of around 9,000 had international ties. To celebrate the diversity within their own community and to expose their patrons to different cultures and languages, Pine River Library hosted an ‘International Night’ during which local bilingual community members hosted booths full of cultural foods and fun facts about their cultural heritage

 

Libraries lead in creating communities

Librarians are expanding the definition of the library beyond a transactional system. By shifting to a relational focus, librarians are transforming their libraries into spaces where communities can come together, learn, and create.

For example, did you know that at your local library, you can borrow more than just books? Librarians are building community by providing a sharing system of unique resources for social activities, allowing community members to check out everything from a telescope to baking pans, lawn games, and puppets.

From hosting summer reading programs to organizing Talk Like a Pirate Day events, librarians are finding unique ways to connect with their communities. Show your library some love this National Library Week — ask your local library about how you can join in the week’s festivities

 

Celebrate the learning resources that libraries offer — jump back into your language course or choose a new language to explore!

Jump Back In 

How is your local library leading in your community? Give your library a shout-out in the comments below!

Topics: Public Libraries

Lydia Koehn

Written by Lydia Koehn

E aí, tudo bem! A lively lexicologist, Lydia loves munching on alliterative morsels almost as much as she enjoys swapping tales of travel adventures.

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