February 7, 2014

OUR VIEW: Libraries open up the world


---- — We wrote on Sunday about Bring Your Child to the Library Day. Then on Wednesday, we wrote about the Logansport-Cass County Public Library’s report on 2012 library usage.

Why do we write so much about the library? Well, because libraries are important.

If you read Sunday’s report, in which we wrote about 3-year-old twin sisters who were having a grand time making and then playing with paper bunny ears, you might be questioning why that’s important.

Those silly bunny ears — and other child-friendly events held as part of the library’s special day — got several kids into the library where they were exposed to a whole new world of knowledge.

Organizers planned the day of movies, crafts, games and a puppet show to introduce children to the library and instill an appreciation for reading they hope will remain with them through adulthood.

“The ultimate purpose is getting them to read,” Moore said. “If they find out the library is a friendly place, they’ll want to come back.”

If more people made a library a regular hangout, individuals and society as a whole would be well-served.

Author Neil Gaiman put the importance of libraries in great perspective during a 2013 lecture for The Reading Agency, a UK-based organization devoted to developing life-long readers.

During his lecture, he made an impassioned plea for people to understand what libraries and librarians are for in the 21st century saying: “I worry that here in the 21st century, people misunderstand what libraries are and the purpose of them. If you perceive a library as a shelf of books, it may seem antiquated or outdated in a word in which most, but not all, books in print exist digitally. But that is to fundamentally miss the point. I think it has to do with nature of information.”

If you’ve been to the Logansport library lately, you’ll see it’s far from a bunch of shelves of books. Yes, there are lots and lots of books, but there’s so much more.

The library has seen increases in the usage of its public computers, as well as more checkouts of CDs, DVDs and e-books. The world is changing and how information is disseminated is changing with it. Our library, and many others across the nation, have been changing right along with it.

We were encouraged by the recent report by the library on its 2012 usage, which showed usage remained on par with the year prior.

But for our city and our society, we’re hopeful library director David Ivey is right in thinking 2014 will set records in usage at the local branches.

We think more bunny-laden events will help set those records.

THE ISSUE Library's importance in the 21st century OUR VIEW It's not just about books anymore.