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“The Theory of Mind” and the importance of public libraries

An M.R.I. of a brain highlighting areas used during reading

“It’s not that evolution gives us insight into fiction,” William Flesch [a professor of English at Brandeis University] said, “but that fiction gives us insight into evolution.”

I can’t remember a time I didn’t visit a public library: before I could even read, I would accompany my mother to the library and marvel at all of the books with colorful jackets.  As soon as I could read, I was selecting books at a mobile library that would come to our neighborhood at certain times of the week.

Admittedly, I do have an extensive home library; however, I constantly borrow books from our public library and take advantage of the research books and periodicals in the library and occasionally do a little regional and genealogy research.  The ability to borrow books from other libraries (interlibrary loan) through the Seguin library is marvelous and I certainly avail myself of that opportunity.

Seguin’s library is a small facility with very limited parking and no $$;  I am astonished at all our small competent library staff accomplishes and very thankful for them.

The new electronic age makes the nation’s 15,000 public libraries “more, rather than less, important to the progress of the United States in the 21st Century,” James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress, told Congress.

Dr. Billington testified before the Joint Committee on the Library, chaired by Rep. Charlie Rose (D., N.C.), along with other witnesses, including Dr. Marilyn Miller, president of the American Library Association, on the “state of our nation’s libraries.”

Citing cutbacks in locally financed public libraries, Dr. Billington warned that Americans are “in serious danger of eroding a unique legacy laboriously created by our forebears” even as public demands for modern library services increase and two-thirds of all Americans use a library in the course of a year.

The Library’s Importance in Tough Times

A new discovery by me! – I just learned that I can take my floppy disks to the library and upload to a flash drive.  There is no floppy disk drive on our computer and I have boxes of floppy disks (some not so important – some very important – to me).  I was delighted to learn of this library service and plan to take advantage of it.

Do you know that:
Libraries save lives. In a 1991 study physicians said that information provided by the library contributed to their ability to avoid patient mortality. The physicians also rated the information provided by the library more highly than that provided by other information sources such as diagn
ostic imaging, lab tests, and discussions with colleagues. 

U.S. libraries circulate about the same number of items as FedEx ships each day, i.e., about 5.3 million items.

Numerous studies have confirmed that school libraries staffed by qualified library media specialists do make a measurable difference on student achievement. 

There is now research to support what librarians have always said, i.e., libraries are busier during hard economic times.

Five times more people visit U.S. public libraries each year than attend U.S. professional and college football, basketball, baseball and hockey games combined. (1.1 billion vs. 204 million)
In a 2003 Wisconsin study, one-third of non-users of libraries said that libraries deserve more state financial support.

Public libraries are good for the economy. Studies have shown that public libraries have an economic impact that greatly exceeds their cost, returning somewhere between $4 to $6 to the local economy for every $1 invested. A healthy library system is indicative of a healthy community. A community without a library is unattractive to businesses and individuals looking to locate to a new area.

Libraries play an important role in helping young children develop reading skills. Early childhood literacy and exposure to a book-rich environment are significant predictors of a child’s success in school and in life. The Internet has yet to come anywhere near filling this need.

Libraries are forward- thinking, and play an important role at the cutting edge of information technology. Libraries provide Internet access to many who cannot afford it, or who live in areas where access is unavailable or slow. Librarians are trained to help Internet users winnow out irrelevant information, find specialized Internet resources, and determine the reliability, authority and safety of the information retrieved. In addition, American librarians are lobbying to maintain “net neutrality” to ensure that Internet resources remain available to everyone — not just to those who can afford to pay for them.

A vital and attractive library helps define a community, encourages civic pride, and invests residents with a sense of ownership.

Libraries are the heart and soul of a community and reflect the value residents place on literacy, education, culture, and freedom.

Source: excerpt from 2007 article by Margaret Jakubcin, librarian

Libraries treat every question, every need, every person equally, with the same respect.


About hopeseguin

Who am I? I'm still discovering just who I am, I suppose. A. Powell Davis writes that "Life is just a chance to grow a soul."

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