I’ve always been a fan of public libraries and today I found one that reminded me off just how good they can be. I must have been to the ‘city’ of Midland, Michigan on business at least 30 times in the last few years but had never been inside the Grace A Dow public library until today.
The building itself is nothing remarkable. Neither is the inside decor. But close to the entrance is something I’ve never seen before in libraries at home the my part of Wales – a small coffee shop. What a great idea. In a country awash with Starbucks outlets it was a pleasure to see some independent business In operation. But what was even more delightful – it’s run by a voluntary Friends of the Library group who just happened to be having a big book sale at the time I visited. So of course I couldn’t resist a browse which turned into a purchase of four books ( a bargain at only a dollar each). All the proceeds go to the Friends fund so they can bring in speakers and also fund books for young readers when they visit. What a great idea – wish my local library did something simliar.
what also impressed me – this is a library designed to be open at times when people who are in work all day can get to it. Every weekday evening it’s open until 8pm and even more remarkably on a Sunday afternoon. So no more rushing to finish work early just to squeak through the doors five mins before closing time at 5.30pm or waiting until the one late night in the week. Very civilised. So naturally families were taking advantage of it.
my local library could take a few lessons from their counterparts over here. I know they are strapped for cash but this is about attitude and taking a genuine interest in serving the community. And why not recruit interested people to be volunteers?