common / Progress

LIBRARY IS VITAL AND ESSENTIAL COMMUNITY RESOURCE


By Melissa Malcolm, Lapeer District Library executive director By Melissa Malcolm, Lapeer District Library executive director I have been a huge fan of libraries since I was a kid at Bishop Kelley. The luxury of being able to stop at the city library on my way home from school was comforting and exciting. The library helped me to escape the chaos that was waiting for me when I got home, and the books I checked out kept the drama at bay when I escaped to my little bed at the top of the stairs.

Fast forward: even today, when I have something I’m trying to work out, I’ll often grab something to read to distract myself for a while. Novels are best but anything works.

For me, the library was always a haven. I checked out books, I read, and then checked out more. Today, the library is so much more than books, magazines, and vinyl albums. What I see in every library that I visit is a vital and essential community resource. The educational aspect of libraries is always present: reading, research, discovery, and learning throughout one’s lifetime. Libraries offer people free access to a world of information that they may not find anywhere else. With the assistance and guidance of library staff, people find health information, figure out how to start a business, find the latest novel by a favorite author, or the latest thriller on DVD. With educational programming that leads young through old to new ideas and literacies, the library has become a true community hub. Now, too, the art of creating, of putting it all together to make meaningful objects or documents, has become an important aspect of library culture. Computer classes, story times and other children’s programming (coding class!), craft workshops for all ages, educational programs on history and travel and music, groups who meet in our meeting rooms — all provide opportunities for people to come together for a common purpose. Other folks come to the library to stay warm or cool, to read the newspaper or browse the shelves, to chat with a friendly and welcoming staff member, or to meet friends.


Left to right: Denise Frost (Saline) Presenter Donnaleen Lanktree (Rochester Hills) Dorothy Martus (Brown City) Melissa Jaskiewicz (North Branch) 
Photo by Melissa Malcolm Left to right: Denise Frost (Saline) Presenter Donnaleen Lanktree (Rochester Hills) Dorothy Martus (Brown City) Melissa Jaskiewicz (North Branch) Photo by Melissa Malcolm 
Community members enjoy a recent craft night at the Lapeer District Library. 
Photo by Alex Petrie Community members enjoy a recent craft night at the Lapeer District Library. Photo by Alex Petrie As Keith Richards has stated, “The public library is the great equaliser.” I couldn’t agree more.

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