Why are libraries important?

Why are Libraries Important?

We equate libraries to books, but they offer so much more!

Why are Libraries Important?

Why Libraries Are Important

I’ve always loved libraries. Those of you who’ve read my newsletter in the past already know this about me. But today, I want to dig a bit deeper into why libraries are important and share a bit more about their history and magic.

Today would have been my grandmother’s 101st birthday. She passed away last year and I’m still missing her greatly.

My grandmother was a woman ahead of her time and a true inspiration. She worked as a librarian in one of the largest public libraries on Long Island and then volunteered in my school library after she retired.

Growing up, my grandmother creatively shared her love of the library with my sister and me. She set up a pretend library in her basement by pasting envelopes into the back of each book. We then used index cards and stamps to “check out” books, taking turns playing librarian and patron. (This was obviously long before the computerized check out systems of today lol!)

She also taught me about the history of the public library system in America. Although Ben Franklin is credited as setting up the first public library in Philadelphia in 1731- this wasn’t exactly true. You see, Ben Franklin’s library was a subscription service where patrons had to pay to belong. This obviously still kept barriers in place as to who could avail themselves of this service.

The first real tax-supported “public” library wasn’t created until 1833 in Petersborough, New Hampshire. The Petersborough library was the first of its kind, not only in the US, but in the world! A truly public library available to everyone, regardless of class? It was groundbreaking.

Today, the library continues to serve as a class equalizer, providing not only access to books, but much-needed services for the community. Public Wi-Fi, computer access, tax help, language classes and more. Most people are unaware of the far-reaching public services the library provides, but you name it and the library probably provides it in some form.

I’m attending the American Librarian Association conference in DC this weekend. I’m excited for the prospect this provides me as an author- the chance to get my book into libraries nationwide is goose bump invoking!

But, there’s also a form of honor I feel to contribute and further this community institution. Because I know it will be at the library where any child or adult, regardless of money in their pocket, might stumble across my book on a shelf and find escape in its pages. And that- is magic!

*Please help me and other authors create this magic- You can get a book into a library!

  • How to Request Your Library Purchase a Book
    • First, google the name of your library and “purchase request” or “suggest a purchase.”
      • Most libraries will have a dedicated form that you can fill out requesting a book be purchased and added to the library’s collection. Usually the page will pop right up on Google.
  • The form will usually ask for your information (including library card number), plus details about the title, including the ISBN number.
    • You can find the ISBN number for any book by googling the title of the book and “ISBN number.” 
  • Fill the form in, press submit and you’re good to go!
    • Obviously there is no guarantee your library will choose to purchase it, but my experience has been that MOST of the time they do!
  • But, it’s important that you as READERS help authors with this because most libraries have some guardrails around these purchase requests!
    • Generally you need to have a current library card to put in a
      request. 
    • Most libraries will not accept purchase requests from authors for their own books.

So, please do your part to help your favorite authors get their books into your local library! If you don’t see a book listed- put in a request! Thank you!!

To see some of Joyana’s other articles about society and books- check here!