One of my favorite topics of discussion is what libraries offer.
I often, almost on a daily basis, encounter people who don’t know what modern libraries are about. Hence, today’s topic “More Than Books!” Most folks know libraries offer materials for checkout and people to help with research, but do you know that there is so much more available? Items for checkout may include artwork, tools or the knowledge of local volunteers.
In Ignacio, we offer 12 framed works of art that may be checked out for a month. We also have literacy kits filled with games, puppets and activities for you and your children to enjoy together. Your local libraries offer board games, DVD players and ukuleles, as well as watt meters and even state park passes, just to name a few of the nontraditional items that can be checked out. I’d be willing to bet that “I didn’t know that!” crossed your mind just now as you read the list.
Another too-well-kept secret is that libraries often house displays and exhibits. While our communities have lovely galleries and museums, our local libraries also display local artists’ work. We can apply for and host national exhibits often sponsored by the American Library Association in conjunction with other national organizations such as the Space Science Institute or the Society for American Music, for example.
This month, Ignacio Community Library has this honor as we host the traveling exhibit “Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness.” This exhibit explores the interconnectedness of wellness, illness and cultural life for Native Americans, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians. Visitors will discover how Native concepts of health and illness are closely tied to the concepts of community, spirit and the land. There are a multitude of interviews, videos and images to see and hear in this exhibit.
We’ve hosted a similar “Explore Space Exhibit” in the past and hope to continue to bring these unique opportunities to the area.
So, while the library continues to offer the resources needed to meet research and entertainment needs, it is my hope that community members become increasingly aware of the other opportunities to visit the library and benefit from the not-so-traditional offerings to be found. Stop in and linger, bring friends and discuss, consider and mull over the items you see on the walls and in and around your local library.
Marcia Vining is library director at Ignacio Community Library.