If you aren’t at a college or university, and don’t have children, the chances are that you haven’t been to a public library recently. Most of my neighbors don’t even know that we have a public library right down the street! So I thought I’d talk to a librarian about whether public libraries are still relevant and we had a delightful conversation. Sarah Costa, Director of Aldrich Public Library, will make you believe in libraries again.
Other show notes:
- “A quarter of the United States does not have access to broadband internet in their homes.” I didn’t believe it so I went around digging after our session and this is slightly nuanced but correct: “approximately 19 million Americans—6 percent of the population—still lack access to fixed broadband service at threshold speeds. In rural areas, nearly one-fourth of the population —14.5 million people—lack access to this service. In tribal areas, nearly one-third of the population lacks access. Even in areas where broadband is available, approximately 100 million Americans still do not subscribe.” from the FCC.
- The Human Library Project: imagine checking people in and out of libraries for a 30-minute conversation with people that fit into a particular category. This project might allow you to meet your first refugee, Muslim, transgendered person, etc.
- Fundraising. A large part of a public librarian’s job is to ensure fundraising, and Sarah’s insight on that was fascinating. How much per capita are your public libraries getting from your taxes? Sarah outlines how you can investigate your library. If you’re looking to support a library in rural Vermont, you can donate to the Aldrich Public Library here.
- Have you visited rural America? I was lucky enough to get to see Galena, Illinois, as well as West Topsham, Vermont which I wouldn’t have had it not been for Sarah. Galena is very tourist-friendly and pretty and I highly recommend it. Vermont is amazing for very many reasons, one of which is the smell of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream as you’re driving anywhere near their factory (they even have factory tours, which are on my list for the next time I’m there).
- “Cuts to libraries during a recession are like cuts to hospitals during a plague.” -Eleanor Crumblehulme here.