When I tell people that I make my living as a librarian, they think I have it easy. Getting paid to shush the noisy and read the New York Times bestsellers has to be a cushy gig.
All that may be a part of your grandmother’s library, but it’s not the world I work in. But one thing remains the same: the passport for making it in this world is a library card.
September is Library Card Sign-Up Month, making it a time for librarians to show how something so free can be so priceless. Sure, books are still a large part of who we are, whether it’s our weekly story times for preschoolers, or providing space for study groups. But your local library continues to find ways to remain relevant as the information needs of the public change.
In addition, libraries provide free Internet access. The Powdersville Branch has 18 computers wired for online use. Or, if you prefer, you may bring your laptop and use our free wireless hot spot.
I remember well a patron who was laid off as a result of a restructuring at his company. For several weeks he would come in my building dressed in a suit and tie as he was searching job websites and tailoring his resume to meet the specific needs of each potential employer. One day, he came in with bittersweet news: he wouldn’t be in for a while because he had found a new job.
Here are some uses of library cards:
· Downloadable books. ACL has nearly 5,000 books users can read from a computer, smartphone or tablet device. An additional 4,000 audiobooks can be accessed as well. The loan period varies, and they electronically erase themselves when they’re due, saving you about a gallon of gas.
· DVDs. If you haven’t noticed, the local Blockbuster stores are no more. We have access to hundreds of movies for both children and adults, many of them older titles you can’t find in a Redbox. You can check out up to four for a week, and there’s no charge as long as you bring them back on time.
· Auto repair manuals. I have trouble tying knots, but the diagrams available online helped me change the light bulb on my car, saving me both time and money.
· Meeting space. We have a conference room where you can meet with up to 10 people to work on projects and a larger room that holds up to 100. In addition, we have a couple of smaller rooms available on a first-come, first-served basis.
· Investing research. ACL subscribes to the online version of Value Line, a service that profiles and makes predictions on the performance of more than 1,700 U.S. stocks.
· Tools for learning. The ACL website is a gateway to learning more than three dozen languages; preparation for the GED and other educational and employment tests; and sharpening computer skills.
Imagine, all this and more for free with a free library card, during September or whenever you’re ready. We’ll give you a card on your first visit if you live in Anderson County and have proof of address.
The Powdersville Branch is located at 4 Civic Ct. We share our building with the county Magistrate’s Office, Treasurer’s Department, and Building and Codes Department. We’re open 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday and Friday; and 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday.
If you haven’t been in a while, we’ll be glad to have you back. And if you haven’t tried us at all, we’re worth the look. What’s it going to cost you? Since we won’t have our feet propped up on the reference desk reading the new James Patterson novel, we’ll be ready to help you.