by AMY LASSITER Staff Writer
Nowadays many people question the importance of libraries in the modern age. Due to the extreme growth of technology within our society, paper books may seem obsolescent. However, contrary to popular belief, libraries are so much more than just a place to store books and other forms of media. They are a place of sharing, learning, and community programs to enrich and inspire people.
The Monroe Township Public Library holds several of these programs or events each day, all of which are designed to entertain every age group within our community. The most popular of the events are made for children and teens and, like the rest, are run by the incredibly devoted staff of the Monroe Township library.
One of the most well-known installments to our library is Studio M, a room devoted to teaching young patrons the wonders of technology through 3D printing and other hands-on activities.
“Studio M was created and is dedicated to the discovery and implementation of popular and emergent technologies. Studio M provides library patrons with access to tools and hands-on learning opportunities,” said Studio M Coordinator Steve Hrubes.
Along with Studio M, the children’s section is full of valuable learning experiences, including the Kids for Kids program and weekly after-school tutoring with high school volunteers.
“I think it’s so wonderful that the library gives the opportunity for high schoolers to tutor young children, and I’m proud to be a part of it. Seeing the kids being able to understand how to solve a problem after weeks of work is really rewarding. We’re really fortunate to have a library that’s so involved with our schools,” said junior and student tutor Tory Talaga.
The largest student oriented organization is Teens Engaged in Student Library Advocacy or T.E.S.L.A. T.E.S.L.A is devoted to helping teens create a safe and fun environment while also giving them the opportunity to become Teen Library Advisors.
“Being a part of the the teen advisory group has been a life changing experience. It gave me a place to talk about things I loved and place for me to be myself. It allowed me to meet a lot of new people and participate in our community. It led to a lot of great experiences like going to library summits,” said T.E.S.L.A member and junior Diyaa Capil.
None of these programs would exist without the hard work of the librarians and other library employees. Each day, the women and men of the Monroe Township Public Library ensure the creation of events, while also keeping the shelves organized and countless patrons happy.
Prior to 1989, Monroe residents had no public library. Library users paid for service from neighboring libraries. On April 1, 1989, the Monroe Township Public Library became a reality. Originally housed within the Municipal Building, a free standing building was built on the current site in October 1997. In 1999, the building expanded to 44,000 square feet.
Just as the size of the building evolved, so did its contents and employees, yet the kind and friendly ways of the library never changed.
Every work day, employees come into the library and begin working at their designated departments. These include customer service, children’s, and young adults. They are there to help patrons find desired media, but also to bring a light and happy atmosphere to the understandably quiet library.
While every employee is essential to the structure of our library, not all hold the title “librarian”. Not many people realize that in order to become a professional librarian, you do have to study and earn a Master of Library Science (MLS) degree.
Librarians do not only need to know their way around books and libraries, but must also be able to handle budgets, know history, and work in several unrelated departments. Being a librarian is not only a job, it is also considered a professional field.
Those who work at libraries get the opportunity to be a part of amazing programs while also passing down information to their patrons. In many ways, working at a library is almost like being an educator.
You do not have to be a book lover to become a librarian, you just need to have a passion for sharing information and for making people happy. This job takes a lot of devotion and hard work, but it is also a fun and rewarding profession.
“The library is a quiet place where you can dive into a book with absolutely no interruptions. Each time I visit the library, I’m suddenly happy and peaceful. I can have fun with my friends in such a beautiful environment while also doing work or learning new things,” said junior Winnie Zheng.
No matter how far society may advance in technology, libraries and their workers will never become unimportant. Everyone is welcome at their local library, and no matter who you are, there will always be something of interest there for you. Why don’t you stop by our library and hang around for a while? You never know what you might find.
For more information on the importance of libraries, check out this video
What does the library mean to you? Answer in the comments below!