Libraries offer great benefits to communities and readers. What can we do as individuals to give back and help support our local libraries to make sure they can thrive and continue to serve. Here are 7 simple ways to support your local library.
Become a member (or even a donating member!)
This is one of the easiest ways to support your local library. It’s easier for a library to receive funding if they’re able to show they are needed and used. Things that leave a paper trail are extremely helpful for them, so get a library card, check out books often, requests books for hold, and sign up for events. If you want to take it a step further become a supporting member and financially support the library with a monthly or yearly monetary gift. Every little bit counts! Plus, there might be perks such as insider info, exclusive benefits, or discounts for events.
Borrow, Borrow, Borrow
Once you have a library card, put it use! Even though many libraries are still closed, many have online or curbside services you can use. By supporting the library in this way you’re also supporting authors. Exposure to a new audience can make a difference. For instance, readers deciding to buy their books next time rather than just borrowing. In the UK authors get royalties paid each time a book is loaned out!
Donate gently used books
If you have extra copies of books, books you don’t intend to read, or just need to downsize your library (Believe my heart aches at this thought!) libraries will be thrilled to receive these donations. They can either decide to put them in inventory for rotation or use them in library sales that help fund them.
Use the space and participate in library programming
Again, some libraries are still closed but there are many that are now open. (Thank God our local library opened back up) Many that are not open still have storytime via zoom and other virtual activities. In regard to funding this is where libraries get their numbers, so show up to community events. A lot of us are working from home and using the library’s computer system could be a nice change of scenery and guaranteed quite time.
Volunteer your time
Libraries can always use extra hands for things such as shelving books, contacting patrons about available holds, helping in community events, or working book sales. Every library has a different need, give your local one a call and find out how you can help! They are usually pretty flexible, and you can work volunteer hours around your current schedule. By volunteering your time you’ll have a better idea of what all goes into hosting a library function thus making you better equipped in promoting these events to your friends and family. Volunteers help the library cut costs, which helps them better support the community.
Shop at library book sales
This is a win win for everyone! In a recent blog post I shared that my local library had a $5 book sale, allowing patrons to bring any size bag from home and fill it with books. Who doesn’t love to get a ton of books for a steal!? Aside from that the money you pay helps fund the library and their purchasing of future inventory. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Teach your children to love & utilize the library
With consistency this is a relatively easy task. Create a library day once a week or every two weeks. Exposure and exploration are two of the easiest ways to develop a love for books. Children are naturally drawn to books, especially in areas set up specifically for children, which are usually very inviting. Become familiar with the librarians, attend community events, show them other resources offered aside from books, and discover all they have to offer together.
Local libraries need our support now more than ever! Consider what small steps you can take to support your local library and in turn serve your community.