Message to the community from Luren E. Dickinson:
Hard times can be good times for libraries. Records from the Great Depression, as well as regional library statistics from a recent issue of the Plain Dealer, seem to bear this out. Certainly, usage rates at the Shaker Heights Public Library reached record levels for the third straight year in 2008, making us one of the busiest libraries in the country, on a per capita basis. Taking the recent population decline into account, we are certainly in the top ten, if not the top five, in the nation with over 45 items checked out annually per person!
Does this prove we have entered another depression era? Not necessarily. Even the latest state unemployment numbers show no state has yet reached double-digit unemployment. Things might not even be so bad in the Buckeye State as some would have us believe. Joblessness, for example, has increased faster in 28 states than it has in Ohio. Granted, we could do better, but in tough times libraries are wonderful places that offer free programs and services, and a sense of place where communities can come together. There is an old library adage that reads, “Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.” Our doors are open and our materials and services are free. Take advantage of us.
Times are tough these days, maybe not to the degree of the Great Depression, but the library is here to help. You can learn a new skill at the library by taking one of our computer classes. You can test to get a job with the U.S. Census and take your training here at the Library. You can research job opportunities on one of our free computers and use our specialized software to brush up your resume. You can check out a feature film or an audiobook for your free entertainment. Or you can do it the old fashioned way and read the book, which is usually better than the movie anyway, and you can discuss what you read with others at one of our many book discussion groups.
You can develop your knitting skills and make some of your own things by attending our regular Knit Night at Bertram Woods (January 8 at 7 p.m.). Become a savvier shopper with tips from Joe “The Coupon Guy” when he visits Bertram Woods at 7 p.m. January 12. Nurture your children with our many free materials and programs. Come to our Preschool Fair at the Main Library at 6:30 p.m. January 22 to find a preschool for your child to attend. Or become a better caregiver yourself by using the Play and Learn Station or attending instructional programs. Check the “Library Events & Programs” section on our website at www.shakerlibrary.org for details on these programs and more.
In 2009, the Library has joined with the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS) in a celebratory year of science to share how science works, what it is like to be a scientist, and why science matters. We believe that science is important and will emphasize it all year long in our programs. The word science comes from the Latin “scientia” meaning knowledge, and knowledge is power! Where do you go to getknowledge? The Library. We offer knowledge for all age levels in a variety of formats - books, audiobooks, videos, or digital.
Shaker Heights Public Library has much offer and we want to make it easier for you to borrow our material while helping others. During the week of February 8 – 14, bring back your overdue library materials plus a non-perishable food item for each overdue magazine, book, CD, DVD or video and the Library will waive your fines and donate the food to Shaker Heights Community Hunger Center. (Food items will be accepted for overdue fines owed to the Shaker Heights Public Library only, and not as payment for lost or damaged library material.) Join us in our Have-A-Heart campaign. Not only will you clear your library card and be able to borrow more free material from us, but you will also help the less fortunate.
Use your library and thrive, don’t just survive, in 2009!