As I write this, I am reflecting on the fabulous American Library Association (ALA) 2016 conference in Orlando. ALA was founded in 1876 with the aim “to enable librarians to do their present work more easily and at less expense.” Since the beginning, ALA has helped libraries transform by focusing on a wide variety of issues facing libraries, librarians and the people attending libraries. I learned, I had fun, I made some new connections and I drank a lot of water.
One of the biggest takeaways of the conference for me had to do with how libraries and librarians are preparing for and leading change that transforms lives in the communities we serve. Noted actor Diane Guerrero appeared as the featured speaker at the ALA President’s Program, discussing her recently published memoir, “In a Country We Love: My Family Divided.”
Guerrero spoke about her experience as the daughter of undocumented immigrants who were later deported to Colombia. Guerrero stayed behind in the United States — where she ultimately found success — but she noted that few immigrant children are as fortunate as she was. She described her book as an effort to advocate on behalf of these children. Guerrero encouraged individuals to act for political change or to support groups like the IRC and Women Step Forward, using their voices for change.
Like Guerrero, I believe that libraries everywhere have led transformation through new initiatives that align with our core mission — to help people access information. With information now easily accessed on the Internet, the nature of reference support librarians provide has changed and libraries have to change to stay relevant. The next time you think about your public library, consider what resources and services you think would benefit your community. Join the Robeson County Public Library and be an agent for change in your community. Visit us at the Robeson County Public Library and be sure to check out “In a Country We Love: My Family Divided” to read Guerrero’s personal story on undocumented immigrants in the United States.
Don’t forget to register for the Summer Reading programs for kids, teens and adults that kicks off on Tuesday. Robeson County Public Library offers adults the opportunity to have fun, explore new interests and interact with one another. “Exercise You Mind — Read” is the theme of the Robeson County Public Library’s 2016 Adult Summer Reading Program. Patrons are invited to explore a variety of ways to improve their health and well-being, including fitness, nutrition and stress relief. Learn to cook healthier foods, take a fitness challenge, try meditation and join a book club or book discussion. Pick up a flier at the library, check out our website at RobesonCountyLibrary.org or call us at 910-738-4859 for information. Whether you’re planning on taking a beach vacation this summer, or just want to unwind with a cheerful read, Robeson County Public Library has books that will keep you in a sunny mood all summer long.
Leah Tietje-Davis is the Adult Services Librarian for the Robeson County Public Library.