Libraries provide so much more than a place to borrow a book, music and movies — they also provide a place to do research, a quiet space to study, exhibit art displays for local artists, provide hands-on activities and offer preservation services. These institutions are celebrated in February, designated as National Library Lover’s Month.
There are 9,225 public libraries across the United States, though may states have seen library closings, according to the American Library Association.
A struggling economy has cost libraries some funding, as some municipalities cannot afford to keep libraries open, while other establishments are taking steps to make libraries more popular in the digital age.
Many libraries have increased their offerings beyond traditional books to include free music and e-Book downloads, and free wireless internet connectivity. Services also can include hosting club meetings, increasing children’s programs, and offering DIY curbside-pickup crafts and virtual story times.
Here are several ways patrons can contribute to their local libraries:
- Nominate your library as your community, school or corporate organization’s project for the year.
- Buy your library a subscription to a popular magazine.
- Honor a friend or relative’s birthday with a book for the library.
- Donate a book (or a whole shelf of books) to the Friends of the Library book sale.
- Remember your library in your estate planning.
- Donate to your library’s foundation/friends group.
- Give to the library through a company matching program for charitable giving.
- Give the gift of a library card to a friend or loved one.
- Volunteer to read stories to children or help with library visits, or to work at the library bookstore or book sale.
- Attend local government meetings to urge city and county legislators to invest in libraries as a vital community resource and a necessary public service.
Pasco County libraries in The Laker coverage area include:
- Hugh Embry Library, 14215 Fourth St., Dade City. Call 352-567-3576.
- Land O’ Lakes Branch Library, 2818 Collier Parkway. Call 813-929-1214
- New River Branch Library, 34043 State Road 54, Wesley Chapel (currently closed for renovations). Call 813-788-6375.
- Zephyrhills Public Library, 5347 Eight St. Call 813-780-0064.
In Hillsborough County, libraries in the newspaper’s coverage area are:
- Austin Davis Public Library, 17808 Wayne Road, Odessa.
- Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library, 2902 W. Bearss Ave.
- Lutz Branch Library, 101 Lutz-Lake Fern Road (temporarily closed)
- New Tampa Regional Library, 10001 Cross Creek Blvd.
Contact Hillsborough libraries by calling 813-273-3652.