It used to be that libraries were all about books—and not much beyond the books. Those days are long gone! Not only does the Provo City Library have books, we also have magazines, DVDs, books on CD, e-books, e-audiobooks, databases, meeting rooms, computers, programs, and much more! To me, the most important aspect of these services is that the library is a place where the community can come together. Think about that: The library is in a unique position for the people of Provo to come together and have a joint experience.
A great example of the powers of libraries happens each week during one of the seven Toddler Story Times. Toddlers and their grownups come to talk, sing, read, write, and play together. This experience helps children learn how to engage in conversations and explore ideas with others. And it gives a chance for parents to meet and talk to other parents who have children that are working through the same developmental stages.
For something more adult-oriented, every month there are a few library programs called Learn It @ Your Library. These programs give adults a chance to learn more about a topic that interests them. We have had programs about chocolate, buying your first home, how to do various hairstyles, cooking healthy meals, and how to write fiction (just to name a few). Here people can get together, learn, and then engage with others about subjects they are passionate about or want to learn more about.
The Provo City Library also has Family Programs. From family story times to family movie nights, these are events when the whole family can come to the library and have an enjoyable experience together. Perhaps a family will come to watch a movie and get excited together about a character saving the galaxy. Or maybe a family will enjoy one of our WorldLink or AuthorLink events where they learn more about a specific culture or meet a favorite author. Once a family comes to an experience at the library there are conversation and discussion topics for days, weeks, and possibly years to come. Our community needs a place where people can come together and have a safe place to talk about similar, interesting, or important topics. From hosting election voting in November to creating large programs for hundreds of children to transport themselves into fairyland or a space academy, the library is here for our community. Because I believe that libraries strengthen communities.