My thoughts are kind of scattered this week, but I have lots I want to share. First of all, I love the quote from the Stolls article where she writes,
“librarians and others who serve their communities are to be commended, especially when they go above and beyond their duties … But there’s also something extraordinary about the existence of libraries themselves – more than 120,000 of them in the U.S. to be exact, according to American Library Association. They’re free and welcoming and offer a safe, calming, communal space to any who enter. But it’s more than that. They’re not just empty rooms with table and chairs and white walls. They’re filled with books, stacks of them so you can walk among and between volumes, touching their spines and feel their words emanating from across the seas and across time and sometimes just across town. Books teach us to be patient in a fast-paced, quick-fix world they remind us that others have insights worth paying attention to, but there is beauty in our shared language, that in our struggles we are often not alone. They help us heal” (2015).
I so loved the tone of this article. Stolls writes with an optimistic air, and not merely as one looking through rose-colored glasses. For many people in our communities, libraries really are the quiet oasis in an otherwise chaotic, messy world. It was nice to be reminded of that libraries can be the shelter in the midst of a storm.
Next, I really loved the content this week about the Oak Park Library. I am simply smitten with the concept of the Idea Box. Not only was that a fantastic use of otherwise underused space, but it was a way to include the community in a new and inventive way. Clicking through their Flickr account, I was enthralled with the many themes they were able to showcase. I particularly loved the one they did for poetry month with magnetic paint and poetry magnets. I also loved the butterfly exhibit and how people from the community literally became part of the art as their pictures were added to the butterfly’s wings. The POW! exhibit was also a great idea. I am the mom of boys who are obsessed with superheroes. They would go berserk for the opportunity to design their own superhero. (In fact, I may steal that idea to do with them for art while we are doing distance learning.)
In all, I loved how the Oak Park Librarians work to make the Idea Box themes engaging, interactive, adaptable to a wide age-range, and most of all unintimidating. I observed this trend carried over into their “New Kind of Summer School” program. As a parent, I would be far more inclined to send my kids to a short summer school program at the library than at the school if one of my kids needed a small academic boost. This is also a library I would love to visit. They seem to have their finger on the pulse of what people want, need, and didn’t even know they wanted and needed.
That’s it for now…but more ideas to come, I’m sure.
Stolls, A., (2015). The healing power of libraries. retrieved from: https://www.arts.gov/article/healing-power-libraries
The Idea Box. Retrieved from: https://oppl.org/use-your-library/idea-box/
The Idea Box. Retrieved from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/oppl/collections/72157630548314758/