Friday, April 9, 2010

Communities thrive at libraries during tough economic times

National Library Week is April 11-17, so it's a perfect time to reflect on the value of librarians and of the library, especially its roll as a community center.

In times of economic hardship Americans turn to – and depend on – their libraries and librarians. From free access to books and online resources for everyone in the family, to library “business” centers that help support entrepreneurship and retraining, libraries are part of the solution when a community is struggling economically.

As more and more people look for employment, Fauquier County Public Library is helping level the playing field for job seekers with programs such as interview workshops presented by The Work Place, free Internet and ESL classes and with a wide array of resources for job seekers. (Many businesses now only accept online job applications, so it is not surprising that library staff members are reporting many patrons are turning to library computers and Internet access to find work, apply for jobs online, type resumes and cover letters, and open e-mail accounts.)

Recently the library formed a partnership with Fauquier Health, and it works with numerous other community agencies and organizations throughout the year to continually improve and enhance library services for its patrons.

Some organizations, such as The Friends of the Fauquier Library, Cedar Run Garden Club, Literacy Volunteers, Liberty High School National Honor Society, work with the library year-round on the community's behalf. And, while some library partners support established services and help introduce new services for children, teens, or adults, others work with the library to present special programs.

Corporate or business partners may work with the library on special projects, as Borders and Dominion Virginia Power did last year and Amazon.com does on an ongoing basis, while others choose to support the library by donating funds for special events, such as those presented during the summer reading programs: summer of 2009 corporate sponsors included D.C. United, Burger King, Papa John’s Pizza, Chick-Fil-A, Five Guys, and the Marshall McDonalds.

Other community organizations that the library has recently partnered with or received support from are: Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Fauquier Family Shelter, Bluemont Concert Series, Foundation for Tax Assistance, Highland School, Community Services Roundtable, Fauquier Heritage Institute, Head Start, Historic Resources Roundtable, Partnership for Warrenton, Southern Fauquier Business Association, and Southern Fauquier Historical Society.

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