Time to celebrate

AT THE LIBRARY

It’s that time again. National Library Week starts tomorrow and communities across the nation will celebrate the valuable contributions of libraries worldwide. This week is the perfect time to give you a “State of the Library” address, aka I’m going to brag a little bit.

A recent statewide study concluded that for every $10 invested in public libraries, $55 is returned to Pennsylvania taxpayers. According to this same study, if public libraries did not exist economic loss to communities throughout the commonwealth would total nearly $1.34 billion. That’s 5.5 times what is dedicated annually in local, state and federal taxes for public libraries. WOW! That’s some return-on-investment.

In 2018, Mifflin County Library helped 81,506 visitors answer 122,593 questions. Since our digital library is open for business 24/7/365, even when our brick and mortar buildings are closed, we checked out 262 books every day, 11 books every hour, or 1 book every 5.5 minutes. Not too shabby for a small, rural library.

Our dedicated volunteers helped with the book sale, gardening, recycling, etc. for a total of 1,538.5 service hours for a cost savings of $37,139. Children involved in the summer reading program read 213,080 minutes (3,551 hours) during the time school was not in session.

While the cumulative figures are impressive, it’s the individual stories that truly show the impact of our services in the community.

Eight-year-old Hannah got her very own library card and announced, “This is the best day of my life.”

A customer who reads new, best-selling books looked at the bottom of the printed date due slip where our automated system calculates the amount a borrower saves by checking out books rather than buying them, exclaimed, “Why, I never could afford to buy all these books!”

An elderly gentleman comes in several times a week and said, “Sometimes you girls are the only people I talk to in a day.”

A former teen volunteer, now attending college, came in to visit while on break. Susan took him to the Mifflin County Internet Advisory Committee meeting so he could translate the “geek-speak” for us.

Little Billy bounced into the Children’s Department and excitedly announced, “I’m 8 today and I’m great. Get it? G-R-8 because I’m here at the library.”

These personal accounts of our impact on the residents of Mifflin County help to demonstrate our worth and value to individuals in the area. There many times when we don’t know what seeds we’ve planted or what became of the information we shared. Hopefully, we make a difference in people’s lives.

As part of National Library Week, we recognize Tuesday, April 9 as National Library Worker’s Day. We gladly accept whoopee pies, gluten free cookies, and pizza as a token of your appreciation. (Just kidding!) We do hope you will stop by and say thanks to our hardworking staff.

One of the reasons we celebrate each year is to raise awareness for libraries. Call local and state officials to tell them how the libraries has impacted you and your family. Let these elected officials know how important libraries are to this community. And, don’t forget to remind them to allocate the necessary resources to deliver the services to serve you better. As always, you can show your support with your tax deductible contribution.

Albert Einstein said, “The only thing that you absolutely have to know is the location of the library.” You can visit us in-person or virtually and help us celebrate the 61st National Library Week.

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Molly S. Kinney is the director at the Mifflin County Library. She is currently reading “I’d Rather Be Reading,” by Ann Bogel.

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