The new year is always the perfect time for a brand new start. Countless memes shared on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and other social media sites have a common theme: the new year is the first page of a 365 page book with your story. What an inspiring thought. What will this year's story be for Librarian At Large? Hopefully, it will be one that mirrors the American Library Associations' President's initiative "Libraries Change Lives." This vision is from ALA's Presdient Barbara Stripling of transforming libraries, empowering individuals and transforming communities. Libraries are at a unique point where they can be the center of the community providing the leadership to forge through an era formed by the digital world.
In 2013, this initiative began with asking the question of how libraries have changed the lives of the patrons they serve in their community. Each story is unique and inspiring on it's own but when they are viewed together they all sing the same song. Libraries do matter because they offered a place to go after school, programs to help find jobs, and books to explore fictional worlds and debate ideas that were important to their lives. Most importantly, the libraries in every community offered the opportunity to make one's life better. In tangible ways, the library made a unique impact that could not be filled by other institutions in the community. The library stands alone as the one place where anyone, regardless of background in education, culture or economics, can use the resources that are available. On the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/LibrariesChangedMyLife, there are inspirational stories that demonstrate this unique impact.
As libraries transform to fit the needs of the 21st century patron, librarians have found that the skills needed to navigate the labyrinth of information has become a little more cumbersome. Thus, librarians had to transform to in order to help patrons adapt to the ever changing landscape of digital information. If for nothing else, to keep patrons from going into information overload and grasping at any information, even if it doesn't fit their needs or answer the questions they had. This is truly the age where information is power. All the more reason why public libraries should remain open in urban settings where opportunities are minimal but the possibilities become endless once the community is empowered to grow and learn. The Ferguson Municipal Library is one such example of a empowering a community.
Every profession, every person should be inspired to look within to transform their own lives to make life a little better, brighter. than it was last year. Little things as simple as a thank you card can change an attitude or build a better relationship The stories of how libraries have changed lives are the "everyday" type of change that are unnoticeable at first but over time it is as bright as a candle in a dark room. Everyone sees it. With Librarian At Large, perhaps that means more story times in hospital settings with children, more workshops for adults who need to hone their job hunting skills or more author luncheons to introduce wonderful writers to new readers. It just seems all the ore worth it when realizing that what we do can have a positive impact in someone's life. When given that opportunity, how can it be turned away? Quit simply it can't