What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a library? Some people picture a big building full of books, magazines, maybe a few CDs and DVDs. Others recall visiting a library to look up resources for job hunting, research a term paper or peruse college catalogs and travel guides.
Many think fondly of their community library as the place that hosts storytimes for kids, and maybe a magician or puppet show with an educational theme. Some know that the library hosts musical performances, gardening workshops, tax filing assistance, computer literacy classes, chess and yoga clubs, teen poetry slams and art shows.
They are all correct! A modern library is much more than a place to check out books, a quiet spot to read, or a classroom. The 14 branches and three special collections of the Sonoma County Library function as community hubs, providing free access to a world of knowledge, in person and online.
National Library Week, held each year in the second week of April, is an opportunity to celebrate an audacious and remarkable idea – that information and knowledge should be accessible to anyone, anytime, absolutely free.
The theme of this week is “Libraries = Strong Communities” and evidence of that theme is everywhere in your local libraries. From yoga classes aimed at fire recovery, to job skills workshops for teens, to maker and coding classes for hands-on learners, we strive to meet you where you need us.
And yes, you can come to the library and learn to play the ukulele.
Want to learn how to work that tablet your grandkids got you for your birthday? Come to the library and take part in our Tech Help sessions. Want to check out a toolbox with materials and instructions that allow you to weatherize your home? Come to the library and ask for a DIY Toolkit. Need high speed internet access for a school project? Come to the library and check out a Wi-Fi hotspot.
We’re online for you as well. Your library card unlocks software training, world language lessons, access to the mighty Britannica, streaming films and documentaries, family history databases, even Consumer Reports and The New York Times – all free with a Sonoma County Library card.
Libraries and library cards are for everyone. We never ask about immigration status, and we celebrate you, regardless of your ethnicity, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs. In a society that strives to learn and grow and accept our differences, libraries are for everyone.
Help us celebrate National Library Week in the best way you can, by being part of your free public library. Stop by your nearest branch, visit us online at sonomalibrary.org, and tell your friends and family about us.
Ann Hammond is the Library Director of the Sonoma County Library