I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the staff of the Fairview Heights Public Library, to the citizens and to the city administration for the role each plays in creating a great public library in our community.
The future of libraries commands a lot of attention these days, especially from those outside of libraries. It is easy to see how innovations in technology would seem to undermine our existence. The difference is that libraries have embraced these innovations and have worked hard to pass them on to our patrons in the form of downloadable content for books, music, magazines and audio books.
Innovation in technology was paramount in creating SHARE, which is a collection of libraries in central and southern Illinois that joined together to form the largest library consortium in North America. These libraries share access to 10 million items available to their patrons via request in person, from their home computers or mobile devices.
But the one constant that isn’t forgotten is people. Creating shared access to the e-content as well as 470 libraries coming together to share their collections was done for the people who use these resources every day. If libraries remain focused on channeling their resources toward helping people solve their problems and meeting their needs, then we are providing a service so unique in the world that it will be hard to readily dismiss the library.
On April 14, workers in American libraries are being honored for their contributions to this ever-changing institution. I encourage everyone to take a moment to thank our library workers for the services they provide and to remind our public officials that libraries are an important part of the community.