As part of my course I complete two practicum placements and I just concluded my first one at Croydon public library. So now that I’ve had a moment to sit down and process the last two weeks, I can confidently write about the greater appreciation I have for those wonderful men and women who work in public libraries.

When people think of a library, a public library is usually the one that comes to mind. No wonder right? For most people public libraries are the only type of library they have been introduced to. Libraries are changing though, especially as technology permeates every operation and service. On my placement I encountered a few people who were amazed by the returns room and commented “so soon they wont even need you in there any more!”  Who knows, in all public libraries maybe the returns room will become fully automated and staff wont be needed in there. However, the librarians and staff at public libraries do more than just manage books.

At Croydon public library the staff are wonderful ambassadors for the changing face of public libraries. Almost every day I witnessed the Youth Services Librarian travelling out to Kinder’s or First Mum’s Groups to promote literacy. I witnessed the library becoming a safe space for people with similar interests to meet and discus those interests. I witnessed patrons becoming more confident in using email and the internet after spending some time with the staff of Croydon public library. Public libraries are not just about books or what else they may have in their collection. Public libraries bring communities together and foster human interaction in all age groups. Public libraries inspire confidence in their patrons as they supply the resources they need to better their own situation.

I encourage you to go down to your public library this weekend, see what services they have, make a human connection because that’s what a modern public library is all about.

EDIT: A small edit, I found this video through ALIA’s September PD posting which really encompassed what I was saying in my above post. Enjoy!

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