Last year for National Library Week I was honored to be asked to guest post at The Neverending Shelf. As a librarian, parent and citizen I had an important issue close to my heart to share: the closing of libraries in Charlotte, NC. Now I feel like National Library Week has brought a case of deja vu. A friend has just informed me that the exact same situation is taking place in our new home of Cobb County, Georgia. We just moved to a small suburb of Atlanta a few months ago for my husband’s job. And as usual one of my first tasks was to find us a family library. My son NEEDS a library in his life even as a toddler and I need access to books. As a book blogger and reviewer I still use the library to supplement my reading habits. I use it heavily to be honest to satisfy my thirst for books that I may want to read for pleasure not necessarily for review. I like to catch up on classics or read that bestseller that passed me by but like most families I can’t afford to purchase every book I want to read. Hence…why we have libraries in our communities. So how did my library search go?
We’ve found the perfect small quaint neighborhood library nearby that we simply adore and now it’s slated to be closed. The Lewis A. Ray Library is tiny as libraries go. It’s tucked neatly into a residential area and if you weren’t looking for it…you would drive right by. Inside one large room houses the book collections for all ages, a small children’s corner, computers for the community and a few employees. As a librarian and a parent- it’s the perfect place to bring my son. It’s personal. It’s a place where he can learn to feel at home and get to know the staff. And even though it’s small-no matter when I have visited there are always patrons inside and a smile to be found.
This library is not alone in its perilous state. In fact 13 out of 17 Cobb County Public Libraries are about to be closed. And so this National Library Week I ask you again… to remember the library, library staff and librarians in your communities. Please use your voice and make sure that everyone knows their worth so that the travesty of mass library closings does not continue in its ongoing trend. What does this trend say about the future of libraries and librarians? To me it says that when times get tough sometimes our leaders are willing to sacrifice what we need most. They will let go of what does not make a profit and looks like a loss on a spreadsheet. Libraries and librarians may not look good on a spreadsheet but chart their efforts and contributions to the community. Libraries are the ultimate equalizer. They provide information to everyone and information is power.
I can only hope the community can help save the libraries of Cobb County and by writing this post that just maybe I have helped as well. For more information on what you can do visit the Save Cobb Libraries Facebook Page.