Today is Take Your Child To The Library Day across Connecticut.
The imitative, started by Waterford librarian Nadine Lipman, is an effort to encourage parents and grandparents to take youngsters to the local library and explore all the resources these facilities have to offer to both young and old.
Libraries in our area, including Bristol, New Britain, Plainville, Southington and Berlin have scheduled activities to coincide with Take Your Child To The Library Day.
But today’s festivities aside, we also want to take a moment to remind our readers that local libraries are more than just a building full of books.
They serve as meeting spaces, art galleries, tutoring locations, computer labs and information centers.
Like many institutions, libraries have also had to adapt to a changing society.
The concept of a library system in America was introduced in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin.
Franklin’s Library Company of Philadelphia allowed people to borrow books on a subscription basis.The first large public library supported by taxes in the United States was the Boston Public Library, which was established in 1848 but did not open its doors to the public until 1854.
Most baby boomers remember the library as a place to borrow books and read newspapers and magazines.
Children were taught how to use the card catalogue system and librarians adopted the image of stern authoritarian women who spent most of their time shushing library patrons.
But as times changed, libraries had to grow and adapt. As fewer people relied on the printed word and the Internet became the go-to place for information, libraries had to modernize to stay relevant. The card catalogue has been replaced by a computer data base. Libraries now lend books on CD, books on tape, Kindle books, DVD movies and music CDs.
Libraries host movie nights, teen activities, toddler story times and have public access computers.
While we acknowledge that our digital world has created boundless opportunities for us to explore, we know libraries still have a lot to offer.
But don’t just take our word for it, go see for yourself.