“The public library is one of the few places where people are still treated as citizens rather than consumers.” – Kevin O’Kelly
Libraries know that information is key, but there comes a time when you can’t simply consume information any more, you have to produce it. So yes, the library has books and references, magazines, newspapers, CDs, DVDs, audiobooks and many of these resources are available online which means you don’t need to come to library (or even put on pants) to access them. But beyond these resources, the Library offers the space to learn and the materials to succeed. Things like toys designed to foster creativity in children and technology to empower adults the library's free materials offer a lifeline to those without it at home.
2. Local Art and Performances
Despite the rising costs of concert and theater tickets, the library acts as a center for the arts by hosting events like concerts, recitals, and gallery displays often offered free of charge and enabling people of any income level to attend. Provo City Library's two galleries are dedicated to bringing in the best art, science and history exhibits from around the country and in Provo.
Designed to encourage learning or simply to have fun, the games at the library never stop. With activities things like the Whodunnit Murder Mystery, video games, board games, scavenger hunts, contests—the only end to playtime is our closing hours.
If you’ve ever wanted to try out a new hobby but didn’t know where to start, the library has a program for that. With free classes offered each month like yoga, beekeeping or coloring, there's something for everyone. See upcoming activities here.
5. Life Skills
Often referred to as “the people’s university,” the library is a place where every one of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels can learn something that will change lives. Whether you want to build a career with databases like Lynda.com or take free software or budgeting classes, libraries welcome everyone who sets foot in their doors and prepares them to leave as citizens of the world.
Okay, so this kind of is related to books but it’s awesome. The library invites several authors every year to speak to you. Meet internationally recognized authors like Cressida Cowell (HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON), Shannon Hale (PRINCESS ACADEMY, GOOSEGIRL) and Gail Carson Levine (ELLA ENCHANTED) and as well as popular local authors like Brandon Sanderson (MISTBORN, The Wheel of Time Series).
Hear from your favorite authors, get books signed and ask questions like, where on earth does Julianne Donaldson (EDENBROOKE) get inspiration for her romantic heroes? (Answer: Pictures of Christian Bale, Ryan Lochte and Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark taped to her computer.) See upcoming author visits here.
7. History and Genealogy
Beyond being housed in the culturally significant Academy Square, beyond the books that hold the diary of the human race, the library contains access to the vital records that immortalize the memories and wisdom of generations. Obituaries, photographs, cemetery records and historical databases have you set for any genealogical project.
Albert Einstein said that one should never commit to memory anything that can easily be looked up, and all the sourced, peer-reviewed and free information not accessible to Google is still just a click away with a library card. More than just the obscure information you no longer need for that one paper you wrote in high school, these databases also have the practical information and resources you need to participate in government, fix your car, learn Photoshop, get certified, practice tests or even learn a craft. It’s kind of like Pinterest but with directions that actually work because they’re written by professionals instead of your niece during her Christmas vacation.
It’s very rare to meet a human who knows everything and yet still knows how to have fun, but these are the exact requirements for a librarian—there’s even a school for it! Author Patrick Ness called librarians “tour-guides for all of knowledge,” because no matter who you are, librarians are here to help you find the answers to your questions.
In one of our recent blog posts, Provo Librarian Carla said that when one of the best things about being a librarian is knowing that you’re not working to increase profits, but to improve quality of life.
The fact that communities even have libraries is a miracle in and of itself. Libraries champion democracy because they allow any person to inform themselves and become advocates for themselves and their communities. A realization of the American Dream, libraries act as the refuge where personal background cannot keep anyone from opportunities.
What is your favorite thing about libraries?