You might not have known this, but here’s a fun fact: February is National Library Lovers Month! This month is dedicated for all the bibliophiles of the world (for our avid vocabulary learners, “bibliophile” is a fancy term for “book lover”) and the people who love and depend on local libraries for building literacy skills, accessing information, and bringing the community together. Libraries are not only a treasure trove of ideas, but a way for people to share those ideas within a safe and inclusive space. That’s just one of the many reasons why we love them so much!
Whatever your struggle may be, here are some effective ways to get started with or get back into the habit of reading for leisure:
We hope these suggestions work well for you! If you’ve settled on a book you think you might like, don’t forget to check our catalog at fcl.org and place a hold on it so a copy can get to you more efficiently too!
POV: You hurry into the library in pursuit of a book that you need for your literature class, and the deadline to write an analytical essay on it is fast approaching. You discover from using the catalog on our website that, luckily, your local branch has it in stock. But when reading the description of its location, you see a random decimal number with some letters underneath, and have no idea what that means. You become officially lost in the stacks. Should you turn back the way you came and ask an employee at the front desk? Or do you dare to trek through the seemingly endless maze of books? You decide to continue onward, but then your surroundings change. Now you’re in a section where there’s no numbers and just letters??
Everyone knows that public libraries are one of the most magical inventions on Earth–people from all walks of life can come together in community and find practically anything they need. Libraries are one of the few organizations left in the service industry where utilization isn’t accompanied by the expectation of spending money. Not to sound too biased, but the Faulkner County Library might just be the coolest hangout spot in town (okay, maybe aside from the splash pad at the park). As counterintuitive as it seems, our headquarters in Conway is constantly busy and we easily help close to 500 patrons in a single day if not more. If you’ve been to our summer programming, you know exactly what we’re talking about!
Reference: Being a smaller library, we don’t have a separate reference desk per se, but we do have a handful of more experienced librarians who can help you with your research needs. They can show you how to use the microfilm machine, look up local records in the Arkansas Room, and provide tactics for better understanding online sources!
Even though the height of the COVID-19 pandemic is over and things have mostly gone back to normal, there are still children who have been significantly affected in terms of academic growth and learning loss from the school closures and reliance on distance learning. According to a study by Horace Mann Educators Corporation, more than 97% of teachers reported their students are behind compared to classes held prior to the pandemic.
Luckily, work is being done to combat this. The Arkansas Department of Education awarded funds to schools from the American Rescue Plan to create over 84 summer and after-school programs in the last year. Not to mention, our own library has recently been able to offer more educational and social programming for kids and teens outside of school hours, like After the Bell at FCL! You can check out the monthly calendars for each age group at fcl.org under the Programs tab.
As parents, caregivers, educators, and community leaders work to fill in the learning gaps for our students, there is one other invaluable (and FREE) tool that will help our young patrons to get back on track towards success: a library card! There’s a reason why we have such a lenient checkout policy and let our patrons borrow up to 100 items per account. So many teachers, students, and homeschooling families depend on a library card to boost learning, and allowing them to check out a higher volume of materials at a time–something they often do, which always makes us librarians smile–widens their capacity to level the playing field and place their learners on the threshold of a promising career path.