Libraries remain relevant

Published 11:29 am Monday, March 9, 2015

My lifelong love of books and reading started at an early age. For me, a trip to the local library meant gathering as many books as I could carry to the librarian’s desk and getting to check them out with my library card, which I kept nestled in my Hello Kitty wallet. This was before the age of computers, so I would watch the librarian meticulously stamp the return cards in each book, giving me two weeks to enjoy the stories tucked inside the pages. There was always a smell associated with the library books I would bring home, which brought comfort and familiarity and I couldn’t wait to return to the library to see what else I could find.

Through the years, libraries have evolved from places traditionally viewed as a place of solitude where individuals can go check out books and research information to community centers filled with activities for all ages.

I had the pleasure to cover a story for this year’s Progress edition highlighting how libraries stay relevant in a technological society.

I got to speak with librarians such as Kelly Easterling, who is the director of the Chilton-Clanton Public Library, who said libraries have morphed into hubs for the community to come together where people can come and interact with others, laugh and attend events with friends.

I also spoke with Clanton Middle School Library Media Specialist Sonya Jones, who said kids enjoy discussing recent book titles that could potentially be turned into a movie, or that their friends are also reading.

Titles like the “Hunger Games” series, the “Lemony Snicket” series or books by popular young adult writer John Green are frequent book titles Jones said students check out at the library.

When I started doing research for the Progress story I was worried I might find libraries struggling to stay relevant or librarians telling me that reading books was now considered archaic.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that libraries are not only thriving, but people still enjoy the process of checking books out, and the Chilton-Clanton Public Library hosts book lectures for those who like to talk about the written word with friends.

Easterling noted many patrons of the library often come to enjoy the free wireless Internet, recently released DVD section or movie showings in the media room.

You don’t have to be an avid reader to enjoy the exciting things a library has to offer, so I invite you to stop by one of the libraries in Chilton County and check it out.

A copy of the story featured in Progress can be found by visiting under the “special section” portion of the site.