U.S. libraries—120,000 strong—represent a robust national infrastructure for advancing economic and educational opportunity for all. From pre-K early learning to computer coding to advanced research, our nation’s libraries develop and deliver impactful programs and services that meet community needs and advance national policy goals.
This message is one that our Washington Office staff bring to federal policymakers and legislators every day, and we know it’s one that library directors and trustees also are hitting home in communities across the country. With Library Card Sign-up Month almost upon us, a new series of short videos (1-2 minutes) can help make the case for libraries, including one featuring school principal Gwen Abraham highlighting the important role of public libraries in supporting education. “Keep the innovation coming. Our kids benefit from it, this will affect their futures, and this is really what we need to make sure our kids are prepared with 21st century skills.”
As the nation considers our vision for the future this election year and begins to plot actionable steps to achieve that vision, we offer The E’s of Libraries® as part of the solution. Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Empowerment and Engagement are hallmarks of America’s libraries—but may not be as obvious to decision makers, influencers, and potential partners.
“Cleveland Public Library, like many of our colleagues, is using video more and more to share our services with more people in an increasingly visual world,” said Public Library Association (PLA) President Felton Thomas. “I know this is a catalog we need to build, and I hope these diverse videos will be used in our social media, public presentations and outreach to better reflect today’s library services and resources.”
For Employment: “The library was not a place I thought of right away, but it turned out to be the best place for my job search,” says Mike Munoz about how library programs helped him secure a job in a new city after only four months.
For Entrepreneurship: “”Before I walked into the public library, I knew nothing about 3D printing,” says brewery owner John Fuduric, who used library resources to print unique beer taps for his business. “The library is a great resource, but with the technology, the possibilities are endless.”
And Kristin Warzocha, CEO of the Cleveland Food Bank, speaks to the power of partnerships to address community needs: “Hunger is everywhere, and families across our country are struggling. Libraries are ideal partners because libraries are everywhere, too. Being able to partner with libraries…is a wonderful win-win situation for us.” In dozens of communities nationwide, libraries are partnering to address food security concerns for youth as part of summer learning programs. In Cleveland, this partnership has expanded to afterschool programming and even “checking out” groceries at the library.