National Library Week: Why TechSoup Loves the Library

In honor of National Library Week, we asked TechSoup staff to share why they love their local library. Some shared fond library memories, while others talked about how the library impacts them and their families today.

One of the goals of National Library Week, according to the ALA, is to communicate the positive impact libraries have on people's lives. To learn more about participating in National Library Week, check out ALA's website.

A Space for Everybody

"We walk to our local library to check out books and also run an after school program. I started the program, and my husband now runs it. We love our local library because they collaborate with us every step of the way in carrying out the program, because what matters to our library most is people, and in particular the kids who – with the help of the library – get the love, respect, and attention they deserve. In an underserved neighborhood, the library is a comfort zone. It provides a safe, secure, open-minded, educational, resourceful environment for everyone. "- Rosette Nguyen, Senior Manager, Communications

"Yesterday, my daughter asked if we could go to our branch so she could do her homework. She did third grade common core math, I connected to the WiFi and researched funders for Range. My girlfriend found and reserved the spot where we are going to get married. Teens had reserved the study room and clearly were working furiously on things that made their brains bigger. Families dropped books in the return slot and the librarians answered a steady stream of questions. Our library, newly renovated, is full of light and space and a satisfying collection of Thea Stilton graphic novels. Yesterday, at my library, it seemed there was space and something for everyone." - Marnie Webb, CEO of Caravan Studios

A Lifetime Love

"Libraries became a special place for me while at Vassar (I already loved them from participating in local library summer reading contests). I would explore the stacks, deep in the corners of the Thompson Library and find quiet places to work and work through my existential explorations. Between the beautiful architecture, dark recesses and of course, impressive librarians, I became an even deeper fan. Later, I learned how libraries were fighting to make knowledge more open in the Access to Knowledge movement, and the love affair deepened even more." - Lewis Haidt, Senior Online Community Manager

"When I was a little kid, I used to get picked on every day. My local library saved me – I used to go there to read Peanuts comics and fantasy novels and wait for my folks to pick me up, since I couldn’t take the bus. As I grew up, I used to love browsing the stacks, poring through old photos, and taking advantage of the desktop computers there (my family didn’t have a computer until I was practically in college). During hot summers in Boston, the Boston and Cambridge Public Libraries were my go-to spots for quiet times and air conditioning. After college, I moved to San Francisco on a whim, and not having a TV or much money at all, the library here became my second home. To this day I get at least one novel or poetry book a month. Whenever I’ve moved in my life, getting a library card has always been one of the first things I’ve done. " - Patrick Duggan, Digital Marketing Manager

A Place for Discovery

"I am very suggestible when it comes to environmental things. A couple years ago I researched and wrote a piece for TechSoup for Libraries called Are E-Readers Greener than Books? I discovered that the greenest way to get books is to check them out from the library. Even though I’m an enviro, I am a red blooded modernist with fairly frequent bouts of needing ‘retail therapy’, the desire to go and get cool new things. Nowadays, I go to two or three different libraries each week to pick up my cultural supplies. I avidly peruse the online library catalogs instead going to Amazon for things like the hard-to-get film, Transcendent Man on futurist Ray Kurzweil or to find novels by Ildefonso Falcones, or rare and tragic impressionist music by Lili Boulanger. While at the library I often find other things I didn’t even know I wanted."- Jim Lynch, Green Tech Director 

"Like every book reader, I have multiple sources: my neighborhood bookstore, Amazon, the library, and I read both paper books and on a Kindle. Sometimes, it is tempting to just load up the Kindle in an instant. But I was running a bit low on supplies—I always like to have a few interesting books in reserve—and I stopped by the library. I walked out with a Kenyan thriller, a not-yet-read-by-me Elmore Leonard, a Mo Yan, Mr. Penumbra’s Book Store, the Good Lord Bird, and a Moroccan novel called Gertrude. And, mainly, with a sense of serenity, knowing that if my house floated out into the ocean, I had enough good reading to await a rescuer." - Daniel Ben-Horin, Founder of TechSoup Global and Chief Instigator

Local Library Love

"Most recently, I’ve been enjoying working at the Mission Bay Branch Library as an alternative to our (wonderful but occasionally distracting and noisy) office. The library offers free WiFi, a quiet work space, and a bonus lovely view of the water. Most importantly, the work space, technology, and other resources are freely available to everyone who walks in the library's door." - Ariel Gilbert-Knight, Senior Content Manager, TechSoup Global and TechSoup for Libraries

"I love my local library (well, libraries, really) because anyone can walk through the doors to find what they seek. I can't think of a more inviting spot in my neighborhood where anyone can enter to stretch their mind and relax their soul. From Dr. Seuss to the latest health information, chess clubs to fab labs, libraries offer resources, tools, and fun for the youngest to the most seasoned among us. And that makes me very happy."- Sarah Washburn, Director, Community Engagement of Caravan Studios

"I love the Berkeley Library. As a mom, I am always amazed to see that no matter what topic my kid is interested in, they have an age-appropriate book and are always eager to help. The library is one of my son’s favorite places! (And congratulations to the Berkeley Library System for just finalizing the renovation of all branches!)" - Franziska Marks, Senior Specialist, Strategic Communications

"My husband didn’t grow up with computers and he’s been able to access free basic computer classes and drop-in usage for learning new computer tools at our local libraries. I also really appreciate how my local library helps celebrate bigger calendar events or themes, including story times, learning more about Cesar Chavez and Martin Luther King Jr., and participating in cultural events like Dia de los Muertos with activities and suggested reading (pictured is Becky's daughter at the Dia de los Muertos event!). I also love that my local library hosts a ton of free events for every member of my family to participate in each month. From taking young kids and toddlers to see 'Captain Jack Sparerib' and his pet monkey for a free comedy, juggling, and ventriloquism show to book clubs and computer classes for the adults in the household."  - Becky Wiegand, Webinar Program Manager

I love San Francisco Public Library because I can request pretty much any book I want and have it delivered to my neighborhood library for free. If the title I'm looking for isn't in the main catalog, I can typically find it with Link+, which is a great program offering books from neighboring California libraries that's much quicker than a typical interlibrary loan program. The neighborhood branch libraries are nice as well. I like the SFPL Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial branch, which renovated not too long ago and has a great reading area with a fireplace. - Carlos Bergfeld, Product Content Manager

As a kid, my brother and I were frequent patrons of the Rockridge and Montclair branches of the Oakland Public Library. When I was older, I discovered the amazing wealth of books at Main Oakland library. I loved that I could find almost any book there as I had a tendency to pick the most obscure topics possible for research reports. I also may or may not have checked out and burned CDs from the library, but don't tell the RIAA. A career in the library world seems like the only natural path! - Ginny Mies, Your Humble Author

Comments

Great post. Just wanted to add that while I love my local library branches, I think so many of the amazing things that happen at libraries do so because of the amazing library staff!

Kudos to all of the librarians, circ desk folks, info desk staff, children's librarians, IT library techs that keep the public access computers running, the class and workshop leaders, the entertainers and book club organizers, and the volunteers who keep libraries serving and supporting our communities.

We wholeheartedly agree! Librarians, library staff, volunteers, Library Friends organizations, and the library's patrons are all part of what makes libraries so amazing.