Libraries’ ability to transform celebrated

By Drew Stambaugh -

Libraries can transform lives and communities. That is the message being spread this week as libraries across the country observe National Library Week.

Each year National Library Week is a time to celebrate the contributions of libraries and library workers, and to promote library use. The theme this year is “Libraries Transform.”

The week is important because libraries can change lives and level the playing field, according to Janelle Thomas, director of the Swanton Public Library.

“We bridge digital divides, economic divides, and educational divides,” she said. “National Library Week is a time to spread the word about the sundry services libraries provide. We are places where communities unite.”

A variety of services are offered by the library, in addition to the book collection. They include Internet access, desktop and laptop computers, fax services, copying services, access to costly online research databases, a large collection of DVDs, books on CD, and music CDs.

“We work hard to provide an interesting and varied selection of books, but our services don’t stop there,” said Thomas.

The library also offers one-on-one assistance with e-readers, tablets, and other electronic devices. There is something available for every age group.

“We have programming for kids, teens, and adults,” said Thomas. “Little ones can join us for Storytime and the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program; teens can participate in Anime and BOLT clubs; and adults can partake in book discussions, knitting, chess, and yoga groups – just to name a few of the options.”

There are even some services that frequent visitors to the library may not be aware of. In fact, visiting the library on Chestnut Street is not necessary to take advantage of some services.

“We offer a book outreach program to the homebound that is staffed by wonderful, friendly volunteers,” said Thomas. “Additionally, we offer digital resources including a huge selection of e-books, our entire collection of The Swanton Enterprise and collection of Swanton High School yearbooks.”

The Swanton Public Library is also a hub for Golden Buckeye cards, HEAP applications, and voter registration. “Partnerships with other community organizations also allow us to provide services such as the upcoming Heart Radiothon cholesterol screening and the Babysitting Clinic led by staff from the Fulton County Health Center.” said Thomas.

The library can also borrow items from other libraries and there are MLIS certified librarians available to proctor tests with an appointment.

The community room is used for local groups to meet and the reading area offers comfortable seating and a fireplace along with newspapers and magazines.

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. All types of libraries – school, public, academic and special – participate.

The Swanton Public Library staff agreed with the ALA’s choice of “Libraries Transform” for this year’s theme.

“The staff of Swanton Public Library, along with our dedicated Board of Trustees and wonderful volunteers, strive to provide services to our community through numerous avenues,” Thomas said. “We invite you to stop in next week and show your support of your local library.”

By Drew Stambaugh

Drew Stambaugh can be reached at 419-335-2010 or on Twitter @Swan_Enterprise

Drew Stambaugh can be reached at 419-335-2010 or on Twitter @Swan_Enterprise