Anyone who thinks Libraries are dying hasn’t been in one for a while. Every time I set foot in one, it is buzzing with activity no matter the day of week or time of day.
My most recent venture took my kids and I to the Fraser Valley Regional Library in Maple Ridge. It was a cool day and perfect to be indoors. The girls love wandering through the books and choosing a few to sit down and read while there. They love wandering through the play area and looking for their favourite puppet (the monkey was nowhere to be found this day). They love playing with the alphabet on the magnet wall. It gives us time to just be. A space to relax outside of the same four walls we call home.
As we read, played and learned, I noticed that the Downtown Maple Ridge Business Association was hosting their 7th Annual Spring Treasure Hunt. Participating Businesses hide little plastic eggs in their shops for kids to find. Once the kids find them, they get a passport stamp along with a little ‘prize’ to take home with them. Once they collect all 20 stamps, they can submit their passport to win a gift basket. The kids were giddy with excitement as they began to hunt for eggs in the library. Suddenly, our day changed to one of excitement by hunting treasure.
This is the first year that the library has participated. Interestingly, the Shop Maple Ridge Facebook Page posted “We have had an overwhelming number of participants for this year’s DOWNTOWN MAPLE RIDGE SPRING TREASURE HUNT!!!!” Now, if there’s ever an argument that libraries are slowing down, I would think that this would be the counterargument. So many more folks in the community are engaging with the small businesses BECAUSE the library is participating. While I am happy to hear that the library has bolstered this initiative (and sales?) for the downtown businesses, I do have to say I’m a little sad that our chances of winning have significantly shrunk ;).
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Libraries are the hub of our communities. This is the info-centre. This is the location people go for for information, for events, for courses, for computer help, for books and, of course, for community.
What has your library taught you about your community lately?