Library usage has increased across the country for a variety of reasons, librarians say, including the recession, the availability of new technology and because libraries have been reimagining themselves — a necessity for staying relevant as municipal budgets are slashed and e-books are on the rise. Among the more innovative is the Chicago Public Library, which offers a free Maker Lab, with access to 3-D printers, laser cutters and milling machines. The Lopez Island Library in Washington State offers musical instruments for checkout. In upstate New York, the Library Farm in Cicero, part of the Northern Onondaga Public Library, lends out plots of land on which patrons can learn organic growing practices.
Along with their new offerings, libraries are presenting a dramatically more open face to the outside world, using lots of glass, providing comfortable seating, as much for collaborative work as solitary pursuits, and allowing food and drink.
Heck yeah. It’s all happening at the
Though I vote we carefully conserve those silence-&-solitude spaces too, because sometimes people need to just read, or just think, or just be.
Libraries = good for your head, heart, & hands, not to mention your pocketbook.*
*Um, and your immune system, but you didn’t hear that from me. I mean, don’t be any more afraid of us than you are of, say, a playground, but maybe don’t lick your hands directly afterwards either?