Libraries not just books

Published 6:39 pm Tuesday, December 30, 2008

If expanding your personal wealth of knowledge makes your New Year’s resolution then just one step into your local library could help you achieve your goal.

Libraries have stretched their boundaries far beyond checking out a few books.

North Shelby librarian Lori Skinner said a library should be a hub of knowledge.

“We supply information whether it’s through teaching someone a computer program or bringing in artists,” Skinner said. “We started the Brown Bag series in particular as an extra service, another way to provide community enrichment through discussions about the arts and social issues.”

Skinner said the series has discussed everything from a Leaonardo da Vinci exhibit at the Birmingham Museum of Art and the collapse of bee hives.

“We’re trying to add more things for our adult population,” Skinner said. “We want them to realize that they can come here for entertainment and education.”

Carol Horn, public services librarian at the Albert L. Scott Public Library, said offering programs brings people into the library.

“Libraries are just a great place for people to gather,” Horn said. “The programs we offer generally draw people in to take advantage of the other resources we have available.”

Many patrons stop by each third Sunday for the library’s Cake and Culture program. This event takes place from September to May and brings in speakers from the Alabama Humanities Foundation as well as local authors and artists.

The next event will be Jan. 18 at 2 p.m. featuring local author Larry Burdette. He wrote the book “Old Dominion.”

Horn said free computer classes are also offered every other Wednesday.

Pelham Library visitors can discover a new love for line dancing and basic knitting. The library, like many others, also offers a senior surfing program to teach seniors how to use the web to their benefit.

While adults can find an array of educational tools at libraries now, these centers of information have definitely not forgotten young minds.

These same libraries offer everything from a science club in Alabaster to crafting parties and story time for toddlers in North Shelby.