Libraries for gathering, not just books – Christian Science Monitor
Clothing exchanges, string quartet concerts, and game nights for grown-ups â€“ offerings at a hip and happening downtown high-rise apartment? Perhaps. But all three are also hosted by public libraries in Silicon Valley.Â
Meanwhile, Boston Public Library branches are home to after-work tai-chi sessions and clubs devoted to LEGO building, anime, and teen video gaming.
â€œFor a long time, weâ€™ve tried to make sure people come in for more than checking out books,â€ says Leah Price, communications director for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles.Â
Whether through its series â€œHollywood is a Verb: Los Angeles Tackles the Oxford English Dictionaryâ€ or its â€œTo Live and Dine in L.A.â€ exhibition of local first-edition menus, the nonprofit group creates events that reflect the metropolitan areaâ€™s social, political, and cultural history.
The trend for libraries and library foundations to expand their scope beyond traditional media â€“ first books and periodicals and later prerecorded audio and video â€“ started in the childrenâ€™s section, explains Michael Colford, director of library services at the Boston Public Library.Â
After puppet shows and musicians were introduced, other activities were developed for adults.
â€œFor me, growing up, libraries were a place to do homework or to do research on how to plant a garden or something along those lines,â€ Mr. Colford says. â€œThey werenâ€™t as casual as theyâ€™ve been since the â€™80s and â€™90s.â€
After social networking via consumer technology started growing exponentially in the 1990s, libraries became a place for communal gathering.Â
â€œOur crowds are diverse, because everybody comes to the library,â€ Ms. Price notes. â€œSo we have many different types of events. And itâ€™s free, except if thereâ€™s a book bundle involved.â€
â€œLibraries serve across economic and racial demographics,â€ Colford agrees. â€œTheyâ€™ve always been that space.â€
Write a Reply or Comment:
You must be logged in to post a comment.