Fair Use: St. Paul Public Libraries
The 2018 Minnesota Public Library key statistics report announced that Minnesota has 140 public libraries, 3.8 million registered customers, and 16 million books, DVDs, CDs, etc. While these numbers are pretty big for a state with a little under six million people, the impact libraries have on our community often goes unnoticed. Students and faculty at SPA interact with their local public libraries in many different ways from weekly volunteering to monthly visits to get books.
“I appreciate the library because when I was growing up my mom would bring me and my sister every week to get a bunch of picture books, so we wouldn’t have to buy them because we could get them for free. I still like that because I can read books that I don’t know if I’ll like because without having to buy them,” junior Pilar Saavedra-Weis said.
While it can often be hard to find time to go to the library during the school year when other assignments and activities take up time, the impact libraries have on the community extends past individual use.
“I love libraries. They’re houses of democracy. I actually worked for an organization called Libraries for the Future. It’s all about the importance of libraries for our democratic society. Now that my kids are older, I rarely have time to go anymore, but we use them. They have a structural role to play,” Moerer said.
Public libraries offer many programs ranging from helping people whose first language isn’t English with reading to homework help for teenagers. These opportunities are open to everyone in the community, and most of the people who work the events are volunteers. Sophomore Zoe Burkhardt started volunteering at her local library in Linden Hills this summer to fulfill her service requirement.
“It’s nice to give back, and it’s also just chill. It’s kind of relaxing. It doesn’t take that much brain power. If you don’t want to interact with other people you don’t have to. You can just listen to music and shelf books, and nobody will talk to you. If that’s what you’re looking for it’s nice. Libraries always have stuff for you to do,” Burkhardt said.
As we roll into the New Year, it’s the perfect time to start resolutions early and help out at your local library.