Let me preface this by saying I do NOT work for a library. I did however have a Work-Study job at Tufts University in the microfiche and periodicals area – yes, yes, I am dating myself – severely dating myself! That said, I loved that job – it was so fun, it brought together all of my favorite interests – learning new things and then organizing said things. Did you know that there is a magazine for everything?? I mean EVERYTHING – Emu Today – that’s EMUsing – it exists! PRO (Portable Restroom Operator) Magazine – do not 💩 your pants, this is real! I Love Cats – can I get a meow, meow? These are all real magazines and while not all of them are found at your local library, they do exist. And aside from the internet, the library is where you can find all sorts of fun, wacky, and altogether useful information.
That is why I want to highlight the importance of libraries. Now, I may be biased as my name Larissa was taken from the pages of a Boris Pasternak novel, Doctor Zhivago but I love libraries. Whenever I move to a new city or state, one of the first things I do is get a new library card. Whenever I get a new job, I contact the libraries to find out how I can partner with them. Why? Because libraries, according to WIPO magazine (see there is a magazine for everything), are the “gateways to knowledge and culture, libraries play a fundamental role in society. The resources and services they offer create opportunities for learning, support literacy, and education, and help shape the new ideas and perspectives that are central to a creative and innovative society. They also help ensure an authentic record of knowledge created and accumulated by past generations. In a world without libraries, it would be difficult to advance research and human knowledge or preserve the world’s cumulative knowledge and heritage for future generations.”
Libraries do something that the internet still cannot do – they connect real, red-blooded human beings to – get this – each other…in person!!! Have a question? Go to the information desk and a real person will respond to you. You want to host an in-person meeting because you are SO OVER Zoom? Check out the library, they have community rooms and spaces for meetings. Want to learn about something you read about from a real human being? The Human Library® “creates a safe space for dialogue where topics are discussed openly between human books and their readers” – YOU – you, are the reader! This is one way to address people’s prejudices by helping them to talk to those they would not normally meet. I mean, how cool is that?
And of course, one of my favorite things about libraries, especially as an educator – is that they always have a Summer Reading Theme. Looking for a way to connect with students but don’t have the bandwidth to figure it out? These summer reading themes are a way to connect with the community and they are already decided for you! For the last five years, I have used the Summer Reading theme to connect students (and their parents) to energy. Starting in 2017, I talked about renewable energy with Build a Better World and then Libraries Rock. In 2019, a partner saw my presentations and wondered if I would be interested in partnering to have students lead the presentations so we created P.O.W.E.R., and the high school students presented on A Universe of Stories, Imagine Your Story, and Tails and Tales. There is a theme for everything and you can connect that theme to everything – I promise you! And if you get stuck? I am here to help!!
This morning I had a Thomas’ English Muffin with egg, lettuce, tomato, and turkey bacon for breakfast and it was delectable!