This week I’m preparing for my first signing. I decided to hold the event in my local library located in my small town. The library is tiny and has tried to raise funds in order to expand to a larger building for more years than I can remember, without success. Think one room school house and that’s my local library. Part of the proceeds I'll generate through book sales on Saturday will go back to them. It’s my way of saying thnak you since they're giving me the opportunity to reach readers.
I tell you this not as a way of bragging, but to make you aware libraries are struggling to keep an ever revolving inventory of paperbacks on their shelves and also to keep current in the technological age by offering computers for use to those who have a need. I’ve read a sttement somewhere this past week (I believe it was one of my chapter mates, Cathy N. who is a librarian) that libraries are looking at how they could loan out e-readers. Imagine the cost in volve to make this happen.
The concept of the Public Library was Ben Franklin's idea. He believed all had the right to knowledge. In Ben’s day if a person could read, the ability lifted them up in status among their peers.
Did you know that over half of the funding your local library receives comes from your local government, by way of a percentage of local taxes collected and parking tickets? Federal and State funds make up another portion and the rest has to be procured through grants or private donations. I know my small community, and I’m sure it’s like a majority of others, where government officials work on a budget each year making tough decisions as to where the greater need is. With the sky-rocketing costs today and after guaranteeing safe water, waste management, power and road maintenance for the residents, how many funds can be left for other programs? I’m quite sure police and fire departments out rank the libraries, and I’m by no means saying they shouldn’t. When it comes to funding, libraries get not all the crumbs, but a few.
More and more teachers are posting homework assignments on-line for parents to double check. Homework and research needs to done on line. Reports and essays need to be typed and sent back to teachers via email. Sadly, there are still many families who can’t afford computers and or printers and supplies—a pieces of equipment as necessary as a phone in today’s society. Libraries give them access to them and after school hours.
There are many avid readers who are on a fix income and can’t buy every book they long to read. Libraries are there for them.
Many libraries offer children story times, opening small minds to great possibilities.
Libraries are not only a place to enjoy and work, but they are a place where you can transform yourself into the person you long to be.
Now, ways you can help your library simple. Become a friend of your library. Donate a dollar for every book you check out. If you're an author donate your book to the library. It’s one less they’ll need to buy and think of the readers you'll garnish for your next book. Donate the books you've already read. Many libraries rise funds by having book sales each year. When the Friends of the Library envelopes come in the mail, don’t trash it. Send it back with a donated and remind family members to do so too. Speak to your librarian about how you can help them with fund raising. Simply having a signing in house could bring people into the library who haven’t entered the doors in years. You know the old adage; You can’t see the problem if you don’t look.
Question: Can you share a way you've helped a library?
Next week I’ll report on my book signing. In the meantime, don’t forget to follow me. My August contest is whining down. One lucky new follower will win an e-copy of Obsessed By Wildfire.