Support your local library to keep the many great public services, educational and entertaining, free and available to everyone in the community. Public libraries are wonderful community resources that can enrich the entire family.

From traditional book lending to providing Internet service and music or magazines, the library offers a wealth of free entertainment that cannot be matched by other civic organizations.

To support these great services, why not make a donation of time, money, or goods? Not only will you feel good about giving back to an organization that serves you well, you will also champion others rights to partake of the library’s numerous offerings.

1. Donate time. Volunteer a few hours of the month in a variety of ways that will match your talents that your community needs. For example, if you enjoy young children and like to read aloud, offer to participate in organizing a storybook hour for preschoolers once a week.

Giving children the gift of fiction appreciation will last a lifetime. Work with library staff to
select colorful picture books to read aloud in dramatic or singsong fashion to the circle of wide-eyed children that will gather to hear you bring timeless stories to life.

If you’re more of a person who likes to work behind the scenes, donate time cataloging new books or rewinding returned videos. Set up a display or update the magazine stacks. Whatever you choose to do, it is sure to be appreciated by staff and patrons alike.

2. Offer money. If you’re looking for a worthwhile local cause to support, write a check to your community library. Funding often falls short for the latest family video acquisitions, and there are always more books that could be purchased and added to the collection.

Your donation might help to staff a part-time assistant, buy decorating supplies or even pay the heating bill. Libraries often get whatever funds are left over after other major social service agencies receive their share from organizations like United Way.

3. Drop off unwanted books or videos. If your children are grown and no longer use the books and videos purchased for them, donate these items to the library. Other patrons will appreciate
the free use of things they cannot afford to buy.

Obviously, you don’t want to donate inappropriate materials, but family-related themes and tasteful classic items will be accepted with much gratitude. You may even want to pick up some bargains at a flea market and donate them to the library, possibly for a tax receipt.

4. Sing their praises. Write a letter to the newspaper editor to remind everyone in your community about the library’s valuable services. This is especially helpful around election time, as
levies or bonds that must be supported by the local constituency often fund libraries.

A thoughtful comment or two in any public forum helps to laud the library’s ongoing public services to many, including reading programs, civic events, cultural enhancement resources, etc.

5. Use the services. If you haven’t visited your local library for a while, you may be in for a pleasant surprise. Many public library systems now provide free computer use to let patrons
check email accounts or conduct online research. A broad selection of holdings, including books, DVDs, CDs, and other types of recordings, can be borrowed for personal use.

Classroom teaching aids for homeschooling parents or public school students are available at no charge. Encourage your neighbors to take advantage of these resources as well.

The library is a great place to broaden your academic, social, or cultural horizons. Stop in soon and check out the latest offerings.