Library Columns Mary Beth Isaacson

Libraries: Not Just About Books!

Mary Beth Isaacson
by Mary Beth Isaacson

Americans love their libraries. Our country is home to over 17,000 public libraries—more than Starbucks coffee shops or McDonald’s burger joints! Many communities have neither a Starbucks nor a McDonalds, but they do have a public library. In 2016, 10.6 million Floridians had library cards, which they used to borrow 116 million items over the course of 75 million visits. The return on investment for Florida’s public libraries is $10.18, meaning that for every tax dollar spent, citizens received ten times its economic value.

Your Highlands County Libraries’ mission is to provide materials and technology to enrich lives, to stimulate ideas, and to strengthen our community. The Internet has become a crucial tool in fulfilling these goals. It’s very hard to get a job these days without having Internet access: to search for jobs, send out applications, communicate with prospective employers, and prepare resumes. But with your library card, you can do all of those things and more. We also have materials to help you write resumes and cover letters, prepare for interviews, study for tests, and brush up on your technology skills.

Libraries help children learn to read, by holding storytimes and programs for families and caregivers. There’s evidence that kids need to hear 1,000 stories before they’re ready to read, and we’ve got plenty of books to help you reach that goal. Stay tuned for details about our upcoming Summer Reading Program, which will be filled with activities to keep kids reading and occupied while they’re not in school. Over 1,400 children participated in library activities last summer! We love seeing kids get excited about books, and we’re here to help you and your family find the stories that will inspire a lifelong love of reading.

Although books and e-books are the largest parts of our collections, we also have tons of movies on DVD, Blu-ray, and videotape. From new Hollywood blockbusters to hit TV shows to classic films, we’ve got something for everyone. Did you know that you can go to the movies at your library? All three of our libraries regularly show free movies; pick up a schedule next time you visit, or call and ask for the title. This week, Avon Park will be showing an animated children’s film at 11:00 am, featuring singing animals; and a critically acclaimed, award-winning modern musical set in Los Angeles at 2:00 pm. Hope to see you there!

Highlands County’s Libraries are safe, social spaces that welcome all members of our community. It is our goal to make your visit to the library a positive, memorable experience, and we enjoy getting to know our patrons. From helping people get jobs to encouraging children to become strong readers, libraries transform lives. Libraries offer unlimited possibilities for everyone. No matter who you are, there is something here for you!