Why libraries? Help us spread the word

Opinion

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David Seleb

All across America, September is Library Card Sign Up Month. Will you help us spread the word — about both the resources and the value that your library provides?

We know that using your library is an individual experience, based on your unique goals, wants, and needs. It is also a community experience, with shared spaces and communal resources open to all.

There are so many reasons why libraries are needed and valued in our communities today. Here are some we're championing:

Because access equals opportunity. Libraries are America's most democratic institutions, ensuring that all people — regardless of race, age, education, ethnicity, gender, language, income, physical limitations, or geographic barriers — have access to information and lifelong learning.

Because libraries inspire community dialogue. Libraries are safe places to learn, discuss challenging topics, and find opportunities to better communities.

Because your data shouldn't be an open book. Libraries can serve as an essential refuge where everyone can check out materials or browse the internet without their information being shared.

Because misinformation is no match for a librarian. With their research expertise and commitment to accuracy, librarians play a key role in helping students and the general public strengthen their media literacy and critical-thinking skills.

Please visit us in person and at oppl.org/share to find ways you can show your support. Learn more about the public good that libraries provide and how to get the most out of your card, enter to win a free book by telling us your favorite way to use your card, and get a free lawn sign to place in a yard or window.

Also, please keep sharing your aspirations; we are always listening because community is at the heart of all we do. Right now, a community-needs survey is underway. This survey's goals are twofold: to learn more about what keeps people from using library resources and to help shape how library spaces could and should be used in the future. Oak Park households receiving this random-sample survey can choose to complete it on paper, online, or by telephone. If your household is one selected to receive a survey, please complete it to help set a course for the library's — and Oak Park's — future.

Thank you for using your public library and for helping us spread the word.

David J. Seleb 

Executive director of the
Oak Park Public Library

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