By Bill Griffiths
Now that graduation ceremonies are over and all the flowery words have been said, it might be time for many of us to consider the value of life-long learning. That is, learning things YOU want to just because YOU want to…not because anyone requires it.
Racine has a terrific resource for just that sort of learning, the Library. It’s useful for those of us seeking:
· a neutral place to be, to think, to read, to be away from distractions at home,According to Library Director Jessica MacPhail, Racine has had a library since 1897. The current building was built in 1958 and renovated in 1990. Right now, there are some exciting interior architectural changes in the planning process that are expected to be completed by the end of 2009.
· a place to focus on a job search,
· a DVD for the weekend,
· a new book or a new topic we haven’t considered before,
· a quiet place to work on a report or a project,
· special programs (offered on a regular basis),
· to pick up books or videos we’ve reserved via email,
· to use the internet,
· to borrow some music on CDs,
· to have something to read in anticipation of a snowy or rainy weekend,
· to enjoy the view of the lake from the reading room,
· to introduce our children to the many benefits of reading, or
· to pursue the joy of reading for the sheer pleasure of it.
The weakened economy has increased our usage of the library. Circulation in 2009 has increased about 13% compared with the first six months of last year. Additionally, there has been a 32% increase in library cards issued for 2009 compared with the first six months of 2008.
Libraries have changed over the years to meet the changing interests and demands of the public. Racine’s librarians and staff are committed to making the library a useful resource for the people who use it and support it. The library is part of a “resource exchange”, called SHARE, which broadens the access to the collections of 43 libraries and over one million titles. Also, the librarians are continually looking for new titles to add to the collection (last year they added nearly 24,000 new items) and are open to suggestions from library users.
Every community has a wide range of different interests, and the Racine Library tries to address as many of those as is practical. Right now there are a number of interesting programs scheduled for the summer, programs for adults, teens and children. This is the time to go over to 75 Seventh Street and take a look, or spend some time browsing the programs and offerings at: www.racinelibrary.info
If you don’t have a library card, summer is a good time to get one. (And, if you don’t have one, it’s still in your taxes ((or indirectly reflected in your rent)), so why would anyone NOT have a library card and make use of it?) While the Library is not a line item on your real estate tax bill, the average cost per capita is about $26.50 per year, or about the retail cost of one book per person.