Celebration is central to the human experience. Whether it’s career planning or family planning, the library provides resources for customers to celebrate the milestones in their lives. Our branch recently experienced an impressive occasion of its own. The Hope Mills Branch of the Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center in N.C., celebrated our 20th anniversary last month! We brought in the crowds with our story time starring Spot the Dog. Participants enjoyed activities and books based on Eric Hill’s stories. Children and their parents clamored to capture their picture with the golden puppy.
Our afternoon K-9 Crime Fighters program brought in a representative of the K-9 unit from the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department and his service dog. A packed audience of kids of all ages and their parents asked a bunch of questions (“Can your dog sniff through walls?”) and enjoyed the dog’s energetic game of hide-and-seek as she searched for objects under our puppet stage. Library director Jody Risacher provided some celebratory remarks, and our program concluded with refreshments in our lobby.
Our branch’s next milestone (our 25th anniversary in June 2017) may still be five years away, but that doesn’t mean we won’t find additional reasons to celebrate! While this was only a day of festivities, it’s clear that our customers have many reasons in their own lives to celebrate throughout the year. The library is often at the heart of these occasions.
In addition to preparing for life’s pivotal milestones, there’s also reason to celebrate when customers receive the benefits of the day-to-day services we provide. The impact of these services is life-changing. We provide customers with their first library card. Many of our youngest customers are introduced to reading through attending branch programs and checking out books. We encourage an entire season of celebration through our Summer Reading Club. These milestones, of course, don’t pertain solely to our youngest customers. We assist adult patrons to secure a better future through providing them with computer instruction and assisting them with locating resources to strengthen those resumes for job interviews.
Here are a few examples to demonstrate how the library positively influences these important occasions in the lives of our patrons. I’m sure the sentiment of these scenarios will be familiar.
*A child received her first library card from staff. The youngster’s father is deployed, so her mother took a picture of her daughter checking out books using her new card. The daughter was so pleased to be able to share this milestone with her father, even though he is serving the country overseas.
*A mother of a preschooler was thrilled to read the library’s brochures that were available in the Bobette Bag she checked out, a library resource that promotes the story time experience to area families. The parent shared that she was completing her four year degree in early childhood education and writing a paper on the benefits of early literacy. The mom explained she took several of the library’s brochures, including information on Every Child Ready to Read, to assist her in completing her final exam papers.
*Assisted by staff, a customer created a resume to aid her in her search for a new job. The patron stated that she was trying to return to the work force after she had received her nursing license and was nervous to apply for positions. She had been unemployed for several years as she attended school and cared for her ailing mother who is now recently deceased. After the librarian’s assistance, the customer shared she would be proud to show her new formatted resume to prospective employers, and she felt more confident that she could find a new job.
*A young boy attending a preschool story time introduced his friend to the Activity Room by saying, “This is the room where the magic happens.”
All our libraries are in the business of celebration. Please share how your library acknowledges the milestones of the individuals in your community!