The Changing Role of the Public Library
Long gone are the days when the municipal library was but a quiet and stuffy book depository used almost exclusively by those of advanced age and avoided by youth. Today’s library is a lively and welcoming gathering space, with ever-increasing use by people from all walks of life.
People gather at the library for a multitude of reasons. Yes, the library maintains an accessible and expansive inventory of printed material, but it also offers numerous programs and services that play an important role in the fabric of our evolving community.
In today’s digital era, it is all but impossible to keep pace with society without access to information technology resources. Contrasting popular belief, there are still many families who cannot afford a computer and/or internet access fees. The library provides generous access to the latest in computer programs and internet access. Such contact with digital media provides not only a social outlet, but also offers people the opportunity to search for employment, build resumes, access government databases and services, and network with prospective employers. Uncertain economic times highlight the library’s function as a connection to the world-at-large.
Continuing education is vital for both personal and professional well-being. Often dubbed the “free university,” libraries offer programs spanning many interests and needs. Anything from health to history is covered through the programs offered at Kitchener Public Library. With respected experts leading our programs, participants are confident knowing that in spite of these services being free, they are learning at the same quality level as those who choose to pay for similar offerings elsewhere.
The support of literacy initiatives remains high priority for the library. With interactive and fun children’s activities, supportive adult programs, and an expansive community outreach mandate that goes beyond the physical confines of our branches, Kitchener Public Library is a respected leader in the advocacy of literacy outreach to all facets of society.
Beyond the clear correlation between an active library and economic development, the downtown core of Kitchener benefits by the Central Library through the business information services offered to local entrepreneurs, its contribution to the quality of life in the city, and an increase in the number of potential customers attracted to the downtown core on library business.
A first class library will enhance Kitchener’s reputation as a desirable community in which to live, do business, and engage in recreational and social activity.