Local Libraries come in a lot of different shapes and sizes. You can find them in re-converted churches, such as in Loughrea, they can be built to purpose like in Scarrif, Co. Clare (not the Star Wars planet with the same name), to absolutely tiny spaces that fit in one room. Despite the variety, every local library preforms an essential role, providing place for the community. This role is the one that has come to the fore with the surge of digital media, with lots more interaction occurring online. But the shift to online resources does not change the central roles these spaces hold in the community. Rather they have integrated technology to help serve the adapting needs of the community.
Modernisation has impacted these spaces, even if the building and the books look the same. Free requesting is allowed for books in any local library in Ireland, if it is on the shelf in one you can pick it up there. Digital media is also now available through your local library with Borrowbox, whether you want a audiobook or a eBook, you can use this app to borrow it just like you would in the library. LOTE 4 KIDS is a new app that allows people to access books for children in multiple languages, with the aim to accommodate families who are not primarily English speaking.
A spokesperson for Loughrea library states that the abolition of fines for late returns was the best recent innovation, as they had a big return of books and people who could not pay the fines. So, take the opportunity to return that book you checked out when you were eight and never returned, it is still on that shelf somewhere! While your there maybe check out what is on the shelves and what events they are hosting, never underestimate a librarian, you will defiantly find something you did not expect. Or ask if you can host an event, display your artwork, the space is truly yours, as part of that most precious thing, a community.
Libraries can also act at a point of contact between local government and the community. Look for those binders and posters that say “Community development plans” or “Rural area development project” these are opportunities to directly impact the way your local area will change and develop. These changes will not be the changes needed unless those implementing them know what needs to change, and those who form the community know best what it needs and wants.
These are amazing spaces, they provide areas to study for anyone, whether studying independently or as a group, students well know that this is not guaranteed for everyone at home. Not only is a space to study provided, multiple uses of the space to learn as a group, play games, accommodate community events, and provide activities for all ages. Artists can use this space to exhibit and sell work. They are necessary to the community, they can provide access to internet, computers, and most obviously material for education and entertainment. In this world where access to these things is not universal, they become vital.
These local libraries allow inexpensive access to media that may otherwise be too pricey and give books you want to read but do not wish to own. It is a personal library with benefits. So, show your local a little love and appreciation.