Many of us have spent countless hours in a library. From hanging out at the school library during childhood to cramming for exams at the university’s library in early adulthood. These facilities ensure education is on the rise for so many. Unfortunately, libraries always seem to be on the chopping block when it comes to budgeting, lately. There are many things you can do to help out your local library though, which might not have dawned on your before. You may even find some of these actions are incredibly easy to try out. So, for National Library Week, you might want to take a break from you regular reading pattern and do something great for your local library to show your support of this incredibly important facility.
The first thing you should consider doing when it comes to most projects like this is volunteer your time. Volunteering is incredibly resourceful and can help the library in so many ways. Since there are so many budget cuts, the library might not be able to pay people to man the shelves every day of the week. Your librarian might be willing to train you to put away books, which will help the library out immensely. You can also help direct patrons in the right direction when it comes to books, media and general questions. Another option is to help out with classes that the library offers. This is especially important when it comes to the library’s summer program, as managing children can be tough on no budget. Another option is to host your own class to help bring in some revenue. The library often allows people to use their private lecture rooms for book clubs, crafting and everyday skills. So, if you have an idea let the librarian know. You might be able to help out more than you expect.
It might seem like a no-brainer that donations are always appreciated when it comes to the library. However, there are more ways to donate than simply handing over money. This is great for people that might not have money to spend on such a thing. However, if you do wish to donate money, talk to your librarian as there is generally a path you have to follow to do so. The library is always in need of supplies to keep it running though. You might consider going through your old books to see if there are any that look fine enough to donate to the library. Another great item to donate is computers. However, the library might have certain criteria to meet when it comes to technology. Crafting supplies are also appreciated for children’s programs. If you have a child in the program, then you might talk to the librarian to see what they are short on and bring the items along to the class.
3. Talk to Representatives
Your representatives can play a major role in the decisions that affect your library’s budget. So, it is important that you make yourself heard as loud and as frequently as possible. Most representatives will have a public number, so make sure to call them up and tell them how you feel about the matter. You can leave voice messages or keep trying if you can’t seem to get through. Emails are another great option to help get your message across, which is amazing for lifestyles of this day and age. Of course, if you want to keep it formal, you can always write to your representatives, too. There are even apps that will turn your text messages into faxes, which will go directly to your representative. The important thing is to be active during this time, so make sure your voice is heard. You might even consider organizing a peaceful protest, if you feel your needs are being ignored. However, make sure you are aware of the laws before you do such a thing.
4. Use your Library
Believe it or not, but one of the best ways to help your library is to actually use it. Instead of hanging out at home, devote an hour or two to the library, so the resources offered won’t go to waste. While you’re there, enjoy the classes they offer, use the media room and check out books. The more people use libraries, the more important they will look on the budget. Plus, using the library is absolutely free, so you don’t have to worry about spending a fortune there. You’ll be able to read, work and enjoy your favorite hobbies in a quiet environment. After you get into a routine of going to the library, you might find that it suits you more than you thought possible.
5. Participate in National Library Legislative Days
One of the best ways to understand more about the library, its budget cuts and how you can help is to Participate in the National Library Legislative Days. This event usually happens during National Library week, but you should make sure to check out dates every year, just to make sure. Although the convention is held in a certain area, you can access some of the discussions online. This event can be a great asset when it comes to fighting for your library and learning more about what is planned to happen to local and national facilities throughout the year. So, stay educated and you will go far with you plan to keep your local library open.
6. Take to Social Media
Social media plays a huge role in the lives of so many today. This is one of the main reasons you should use your social media accounts to help support your local library and libraries across the country. Many people don’t realize that a library is in danger until it is too late. So, by posting about the issue online, you are certainly helping others to learn and spread the news too. In order to spread your message further, make sure to use hashtags, so other people can find the post. You should also make your post public to ensure others can see it and share it with ease.
7. Join Friends of the Library
There is a program that is located in most communities that actually helps the library. It is called the Friends of the Library and it will allow you to enjoy your local library while helping it in so many ways. This group is not just important for your local library, but it can also be a great asset for you. For starters, you’ll find that this group will help you to join in on fundraisers without forcing you to go it alone. You will also have support in volunteering and advocating for the library. With the support from your local chapter, you will feel empowered to help out the library, which will definitely make your passion for helping out this important facility even more rewarding. There is plenty of information about this group online, so do a quick search to find out what you need to do to join your local chapter.
8. Engage in Activities
Local libraries try to set up fun activities for patrons, so make sure to take part in them whenever you can. Often, classes are free, but in some cases you will have to pay a small fee. Generally, the fee goes towards materials or the teacher, so you might make sure to offer a little extra when you can that will go towards the library. Taking part in classes show an interest in the library though, which does a lot for the library as a whole. Attending these activities and sharing them with others will help encourage enrollment too, as well as participation in everything else that the library offers. You might try following your local library on your favorite social media medium, in order to learn what’s going on in your neck of the woods.
9. Respect the Library
It might seem like common knowledge, but respecting your library is one of the best ways to help you do your part. When you check out a book, be courteous about it. Make sure you turn it on time and if you can’t, pay the fee promptly. If you damage a book, then pay for it to be replaced so that other people can enjoy the book. Make sure to use your time wisely when using a computer at the library, so that others can use the equipment too. You should also make sure to clean up after yourself and your family. Don’t leave trash around, return magazines to the designated area and never place a book back on the shelf after checking it out. This should help your library save money and stress.
10. Talk to the Staff
One sure fire way to help out the library is to stop and talk to the staff. No one will know what the library needs more than the important people that keep your library up and running each day. You might be surprised by what they tell you. Once you have the right information, start from there. This might mean volunteering, advocating or anything else you can think of. Of course, talking to the staff is a great way to get to know the people that work so hard to ensure you have a library in your community. You might be surprised by how much they know, which will make you want to fight harder for your library.
Saving libraries is a crucial task that everyone should be on board with. If you want to stand up for your libraries, or merely celebrate them during National Library week, then these ten options are a great place to start. You’ll be surprised by how much you can do, if you simply aim to try to help out.