Why we still need libraries


Jenny Loveland

Filled with resources and staffed with experienced librarians, libraries constitute an invaluable community resource. “Most people do not realize that libraries have so many resources other than books… Public libraries offer local teens Tutor Atlanta, which is a fantastic online tutoring program for K-12 students, as well as ebooks and magazines through both Sora and Lynda.com. When libraries do open for full services in the future, teens can go across the street for volunteer opportunities and gaming,” NC media specialist Melissa Wheeler said.

Jenny Loveland, News Editor

When thinking of libraries, images of books and quiet study spaces frequently come to mind. As their most obvious and well known objective, libraries lend books free of charge to anyone holding a library card. In recent years, libraries have adapted to serve an increasingly technology-based society, partially by expanding their rosters to include ebooks and even hotspots. Patrons can check out ebooks through library websites, accessing the benefits of the library without entering a physical space.

“I think libraries have adapted well to today’s technology-centered world. I especially love that the various branches have their own specialties that are technology-driven such as the Sewell Mill branch with the beautiful theater and sound recording “studio” available to patrons in the area,” NC media specialist Melissa Wheeler said.

With programs such as these, libraries remain relevant in a rapidly changing world. Although they perpetually offer events such as story time for children and poetry readings, libraries also support learning in areas beyond literature or English skills. Cobb County libraries currently offer free workshops and kits, adapted for COVID-19, on topics ranging from STEM skills to Women’s History and dinosaurs. While the ongoing pandemic restricts in-person programs, these events provide precious opportunities for members of the community to interact with each other and bond over shared interests in safe ways. Libraries continue to hold these events while hoping for better days.

“I really enjoy that personnel at some of the branches are hosting classes in hands-on crafts for those who need a break from our tech-focused lives; the North Cobb branch provides classes in sewing, for example. Although some of these programs have been put on hold for COVID, I find them to be invaluable to reach patrons with many different interests,” Wheeler said.

While also disrupted as the pandemic continues, libraries offer a quiet haven from the rest of the world. By providing a safe public space without requiring purchases, libraries offer a place where patrons can study, research, or rest without pressure. After the construction of the North Cobb Regional Library across from NC’s campus, students began to appreciate this aspect of libraries, travelling the crosswalk to spend afternoons volunteering, studying, or talking with friends.

“I like how a library is somewhere you can go to just take a breather. Some people I see when I’m volunteering go to read a book, others group up with friends, and some do homework. But, all in all, no matter the reason, it’s a great place to spend some time in whenever you want a quiet and calm environment to be in,” Magnet junior Serena Xu said.

Whether one appreciates libraries for their books, the peaceful spaces, or the opportunity to interact with others in the community, libraries and the librarians who run them form an essential block in society.