Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Love libraries? Help save them!

My love affair with the written word started at home, with my Mom reading to me, but it came to full flower at the local library. As a kid, I spent countless hours there, lost in Nancy Drew mysteries while my brother pored over the adventure tales of Robert Louis Stevenson and Mom browsed magazines we couldn't get at home. Then we'd all load up with books to take home. To this day, I'm still a big library fan, especially of the Lincoln Public Library at Twelve Bridges.

The library is a source of fun, entertainment, and education. But not everyone realizes how much the local public library has changed to keep up with the times. (Alas, my brother thinks they're just dusty repositories of old books.)

Public libraries offer more than just books. They offer free computer use and Internet access (a key resource for those who can't afford or don't get web access at home). Libraries offer movie rentals and screenings, music CD check-outs, children's programs, support for seniors in various programs, and a range of free or low-cost seminars. And they are a key help in job hunting. Add the e-books, classes, homework help, tutoring, and so much more that the library does and you start to see how vital a role the library plays in our education system.

Sadly, libraries are in danger of closing their doors, largely due to city budget cuts. And that means our communities are losing access to one of their key support and education facilities. We can all help, but there's no time to lose. Take your kids, your parents, or your grandparents to the library, organize a read-in, or just make a donation. Hey, if you'd donate to save the polar bears, why not donate to save a library from extinction? We don't want to lose either, but losing a library could have a much bigger impact on your own community.

Get involved
Visit your local library and ask if they have a foundation to which you can donate or a 'friends' group you can join.

My local library in Lincoln has a wonderful and supportive group, Friends of the Lincoln Public Library (FOLL), that is doing all it can to help our library keep from having to slash hours. There is an ongoing book sale (by FOLL) inside the public library you can always drop a dollar into. Coming up this Saturday: FOLL Book Sale, Feb. 26 (from 10-5) at 485 Twelve Bridges Dr, Lincoln, CA, (916) 434-2410. And there's a fundraising dinner on March 12 ($50); they don't yet have a way to donate online, but you can send a check, made out to FOLL's Save Our Library Fund, to Friends of the Lincoln Public Library, PO Box 394, Lincoln, CA 95648.

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