‘To the Point’ for 4/7/2005

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NATIONAL LIBRARY WEEK will be celebrated all across the country next week, capped off with a special day here next Wednesday, April 13th.

There are communities that have bigger libraries — but I do not believe there’s not a town or city that has a better one.

The Switzerland County Public Library is a true testament to what a small community can accomplish when dedicated people put their minds to a task.

We could easily sit back and say, “we’re just a little town with a little library. We’ll just make due with what we’ve got here.”

That has never happened with our county library. For years we have been blessed with forward thinking librarians and library boards who have strived to move our library out of the ordinary and toward the potential that we all enjoy today.

Our library features computers that can provide residents with access to the Internet and the world of information. Students can do research online; adults can read newspapers from around the world or plan a vacation or buy a new shirt. The possibilities are endless.

Want to further your education? The Switzerland County Library also serves as a satellite site for the Distance Learning Program. Using computers and other technology that is available right here, and right now.

With distance learning, a person — young or old — can sit down and take classes from colleges and universities all over the country. You can work toward a degree, or take courses just for pure enjoyment.

It’s all available at the library.

I must confess that I’m not much of a book reader — newspapers are another matter — but I live with a wife that is a voracious reader, always having a book at her disposal. From her I’ve learned many lessons about libraries in general, and the Switzerland County Public Library specifically.

The first lesson was economic (with my wife, it always is). I remember thinking that I had a built-in easy present lane with books. Got a holiday? Buy a book. What could be easier?

She soon taught me that there was no sense in paying for a book that she could go to the library and check out and read for free. It’s cheap and easy and we don’t need to build rooms of bookshelves to hold what she’s already read.

She also educated me on all of the services available at a local library. Yes, there are books — lots of books. But there are also hundreds of magazines and audio tapes that are available. Videos are also available to check out, and they aren’t just travelogues and black and white silent films, either. There are some fun and entertaining and recently released films than can be checked out overnight.

There is also a program that allows you to get a book that you can’t find here. If the selection you need is not available, through an inter-library loan program, the book needed can be sent from another library to Switzerland County for your use.

Parents: you should all be aware of the many different children’s programs that are available at no cost to you or your kids.

There are reading programs that parents can participate in with their toddlers; the summer reading program at the library helps turn school age children on to the joys of reading with entertaining themes and games and prizes.

There’s story time for preschoolers and other programs for teenagers. There’s adult programs, and classes are being taught all during the year that can help people create everything from a floral arrangement to website.

Again, all of these events and programs are free to the public — and you can’t do much better than free.

With all of the innovations and technology that has come to our library, the staff and library board is still moving toward the future.

In short, there is something for almost everyone at our Switzerland County Public Libraries. Director of Libraries Kristi Harms and her staff have worked hard to see that a wide range of programs are available, and so far the response from the community has been very positive.

So next week, take a few moments to visit your nearest public library. Get a library card if you don’t have one, and begin to take advantage of one of the best things available here in little Switzerland County.