• Gina G. Scala

Celebrating National Library Week

We’re still processing the loss of our mentor but despite the difficult time we’ve continued to put one foot in front of the other and turned sorrow into productivity. It hasn’t been easy. A lot of the credit goes to the places where we feel most inspired – the beach, local coffeehouses, and the library. It’s at the latter that I sat this morning and re-read old newspaper clippings from our mentor’s time as a crime reporter. Wow!

Our love of the library was one of the things that connected Ted and I when we first met. His mother was a librarian and he spent a lot of time as a young child at the library. Me too but for different reasons. We were constantly recommending books to each other and going on about the important role local libraries play in our society.

It seems fitting, then, that this week is National Library Week – a six-day stretch that celebrates the positive impact local libraries have on their communities. Perhaps, it’s because I often find myself at the library – working at the same cubicle by the windows; smack between two separate stack areas – that I know intimately what a library means to a community. In the offseason, there’s generally only a handful of us working from the cubicles but during the summer season the numbers swell. And regardless of the time of year the library’s computer lab is always jammed.

My local library is one of 22 branches of the Ocean County Library System. I’ve worked from at least half of them over the years. I love how unique each branch is; taking on the personality of the community it serves. This week, the American Library Association will release its state of libraries report based on last year’s stats. I don’t need to see it to know how important a role my local library plays in my life.

Earlier this year when I was look for a resource for a potential new business venture, both my mentor and I went straight to our local libraries. Oh, we found some materials online but there’s something about being at the library and working in the reference center. It reminds me of a way simpler time in life; there’s an innocence to it.

If you haven’t been to your local library in a while, go now. It’s more than just a place to get books. It’s the hub of your community. Be inspired by these unique community-focused venues. You won’t be disappointed.