Editorial / Libraries: Much more than books
The other day AwfulLibraryBooks.workpress.com published a humorous blog focusing, in conjunction with National Library Week, on the debate about removing from library shelves the books whose relevance has long since faded or been obliterated by newer information. (Examples are 1974's Born to Run: The O.J. Simpson Story, 1963's What the Moon is Like or 1979's Disco Roller Skating, complete with "skating techniques, freestyle moves, equipment and latest fashions.")
Luckily for us, however, the Fairfield Public Library really does keep up with changing times (though the Fairfield library catalog did contain a few of the "Awful Library Books" listed). Just look through the pages of this newspaper or the library's Web site to see some of the programs that it offers now, in response to changes in community environment and attitudes. Libraries aren't just about books anymore.
For example, when the economy took a turn for the worse, the library responded, offering its series of Jobs 2010 workshops, and other workplace-related seminars, like the Resume Review workshop that will take place April 17. There are also business networking opportunities on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
The library caters to all, with programs and events aimed at all ages and interests. Knitting groups and the "Senior Literary Series" may appeal to seniors, while the toddler and preschool programs punctuate the morning schedule of events. After-school programs like Game Day are designed teens each week, and many of the book clubs are open to anyone.
In a sign that it gets along with others, the library invites participation from outside organizations as well. For example, Fairfield's ArtPlace Gallery will join in sponsoring a talk April 25, by Lois Sherr Dubin, author of The History of Beads. The event will feature an opportunity to view and purchase jewelry after the 2 p.m. lecture in the Rotary Room of the Main Library at 1080 Old Post Road.
The featured speakers who are invited to the library take on hot news topics, providing a level of relevance and timeliness that attracts hundreds of visitors each week.
Its Author Visit series welcomes current authors, showing an understanding that Fairfielders will stand in line to get a glimpse of both celebrity authors and local writers. Here in Fairfield, those two worlds often collide, which provides a nice treat that not all towns can claim.
Online, the Fairfield Public Library has made great strides, now offering volumes of material online. It has made it so easy to do research from the comfort of your own laptop, which really appeals to students, teachers or anyone who might need to do research after hours.
Also, much of the library's literature content can be downloaded to mp3 devices, enabling members to obtain audio books with ease. In fact, its Web site is so comprehensive, it's impractical to list all of its features here -- check it out for yourself at www.fairfieldpubliclibrary.org.
We hope, however, that this library, or any for that matter, never becomes just another Web stop. Anyone who hasn't visited the Fairfield Public Library (1080 Old Post Road) in person is missing out on a real treat. It's a peaceful, welcoming environment in the heart of Fairfield, which acts as a place of solace compared to the hustle and bustle of Post Road life. And its children's section is an experience in itself.
At 1147 Fairfield Woods Road, the Fairfield branch library ably fits the needs of that side of town. And of course, the Pequot Library in Southport, a gorgeous building at 720 Pequot Ave., is home not only to beautiful exhibits, but boasts unequaled acoustics when hosting its large variety of musical performances.
Of course, it's worth underlining that all the libraries' programs are free and open to the public.
We encourage residents to get to know these important town facilities, and not just during National Library Week. Make it a part of your weekly routine.