I’m ashamed to admit that it took so long to get around to it, but over the weekend I finally stopped by the Mount Airy Public Library and signed on the dotted line to get a card.
Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t that I didn’t mean to get a library card, it’s just that with the Internet available at my fingertips every minute of every day, I didn’t see the necessity.
Which is a totally wrong way to look at it, especially when you factor in the fact that I once served on a regional library board.
What finally put me in the parking lot was the fact that the girlfriend came home with a DVD she’d borrowed from the library and I went with her to return it.
Upon entering the library I felt immediately at home. It was like nirvana for someone who grew up valuing his library card.
The smell of books was in the air, and for anyone who likes to read as much as I do (not that I have that much time to devote to reading these days), that smell can be the scent of home.
But still, with the Internet omnipresent, why should anyone bother to get a card?
The answer is simple: In an effort to spur traffic through their doors libraries are becoming less about renting books and more about being a community resource for fun, free activities.
Which is where an email from a coworker comes into play.
Late last week, I received an email that included a story about all the offerings and programs at our city library, and it was an eye-opener.
The subject line said it all: “Library has lot of free fun stuff to do.”
With this month being the National Library Card Sign-Up Month, the library is pulling out all the stops in an effort to spur folks to come in and get themselves a card.
And the staff is not playing around:
• They have hundreds of DVDs available to check out, everything from National Geographic documentaries to recently-released action flicks.
• They have free Internet and computers available.
• They offer parents a weekly pre-school story time for children.
• This month, the library also is promoting Movie Mondays, which kicked off yesterday with the classic chick flick “Fried Green Tomatoes.”
• Every Wednesday this month, the library is presenting Lonesome Dove episodes, complete with free popcorn.
But the offerings aren’t just about watching videos or story time.
The library also is hosting a creative writing class, a Live and Learn series (this month it’s about how to make a simple budget) and a Speed Book Dating series.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I’m sorry I didn’t visit our library sooner.
If you get the chance, go to www.readbuildplay.com and vote for our local library. The library with the most votes wins $5,000 — money that is sorely needed to help it continue doing what it does.
And what it does is worth a minute of your — and my — time.
Keith Strange is a staff reporter at The Mount Airy News. He can be reached at email@example.com or 719-1929.