A library isn’t just a collection of books: it’s the beating heart of a city’s community. There are many reasons why libraries are the place where communities come together.
Building up Neighborhoods
If you think that libraries are obsolete with the Internet, think again. Libraries are all about giving free access to books, the Internet, culture, and community to those who need it most. For disadvantaged neighborhoods, libraries are critical.
Installing one there can help revitalize a neighborhood’s economy as it can act as a central retail and communication hub for commercial and communal events. Its free services can also be invaluable for helping lower-income children get the educational resources they need to succeed. With academic success can come greater economic opportunity, and it all starts at your local library.
Preserving Community Histories
A people without their history is a people who are lost. American history’s darkest chapters include attempts to eliminate certain people’s histories as a form of cultural ethnic cleansing. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that these histories live on. They are repositories of historical records and cultural artifacts, and many libraries host cultural events all year round.
Social Programs and Relief
Libraries are often selected as areas where social programs and relief efforts take place. If a hurricane, earthquake, or other natural disaster hits a community, libraries are commonly used as centralized hubs for distributing aid and housing those affected.
The best libraries are about form as much as function. Statues, marble, long columns, rich wooden reading rooms — we all need beauty in our lives, and libraries can bring a much-needed sense of aestheticism to a community.
For new arrivals to America, libraries can be one of the first friendly places in which they feel comfortable. Libraries offer English-speaking classes along with other foreign language courses, information on citizenship, government information, and more.
They may not seem like much to outsiders, but to those in the community for whom they mean everything, libraries are one of the most important buildings in the area and should be treated as such by their city planners.