Treasures on the Shelves — Connecting with your library

Published 5:09 pm Thursday, April 7, 2022

In the lobby of the Ripberger library in Kenbridge, we have a table with a jigsaw puzzle, usually in various stages of completion. Patrons are welcome to pause for a few minutes to add a piece or two and when the puzzle is finished, we take a picture and then leave it out for a couple of days so everyone can admire their work. We were thinking about our puzzle as we celebrate National Library Week from April 3-10.

The theme this year is “Connect with Your Library” and a jigsaw puzzle is an apt metaphor for the many ways a library and its patrons are interlocked in the community. The resources a library can offer go beyond just books. Our patrons include those who need to access a computer or a free Wi-Fi network, a valuable service in rural areas where broadband access is not widespread or where home internet is too expensive. Patrons might need to print or fax a document, others who want to check out a dvd or two to watch over the weekend and people who enjoy coming in to read our selection of newspapers and magazines.

Although COVID-19 prevented our ability to connect in person over the past couple of years, we are now able to visit two local elementary schools for story time. Connie Krupa, our children’s specialist, reads monthly to grades K-2 and also does an educational activity with HeadStart and local preschools. On other days, the children come to the library for stories and activities. This helps encourage reading habits at a young age. Other community outreach includes Heritage Hall, with whom we have shared audio books and presented stories and crafts. We have offered Paint Night, Family Night, Book Bingo, quilting displays and career exploration events as ways for patrons to attend library events together. Librarians can offer homework assistance and can proctor exams for groups or individuals. Both of our branches within the Lunenburg system offer meeting rooms for local groups and organizations. In this age of social media and widespread misinformation, there is more of a need than ever for a library to be a place to connect people with accurate information. Librarians can help research a topic or help a patron find other sources for answers to their questions.

But beyond all this, we hope our branches welcome people who might just want to stop in and visit for a while. As a rural library, we have a unique opportunity to work closely with our patrons, whether it’s taking books and movies to the home of someone recovering from an illness, chatting with patrons at the counter about the book they just read, or even to check on the progress of the jigsaw puzzle. Even though National Library week is celebrated for seven days, when libraries and communities connect, that is something to celebrate every day.

For more information on the Lunenburg County Public Library System visit www.lunenburglibraries.org.