Take a Shower at the Library in Clark County, NV (S2E5)
Today’s library is a lot different than America’s first library. It was in the 700’s when public libraries were established in the United States. When libraries first opened it was about knowledge. Books, magazines, newspapers it was a place to read.
Today’s library is a lot different than America’s first library. It was in the 700’s when public libraries were established in the United States. When libraries first opened it was about knowledge. Books, magazines, newspapers it was a place to read.
Libraries are more than book lenders. Hear how modern libraries are expanding way beyond books and magazines.
Take a Shower at the Library in Clark County, NV (S2E5) Transcription
David Martin: This is the good government show.
Michele Cappozella: When it comes down to it. Libraries are very versatile and we’ve changed over the years so much and I don’t think a lot of people realize that, you know, because people say we don’t need libraries anymore because we don’t read. You know, people don’t read. People don’t it’s you know, it’s so much more than that. And I think it’s people who have that attitude would come to a library.
They would be super surprised at what we have.
Kelvin Watson: There are some libraries will have ours, you know go partner with a company that does that and come on say office hours to individuals. Actually, the day that we plan to launch our full service, we’re actually planning to have our services available for that event.
Carol D’Auria: Showers in libraries. Oh, we have come a long way. You know, it was back in the 1700s when public libraries were first established in the United States. When libraries first opened, it was about knowledge. Books, magazines, newspapers. It was a place to read, period. Welcome to the good government show. I’m Carol D’Auria.
David Martin: And I’m Dave Martin. And on this episode, we’re going to talk a lot about libraries. But first, welcome to the good government show. If you’re like us, tell your friends to listen to make sure to follow us and please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and please rate us where you listen to us. It will help bring us more stories of good government action like this one.
Carol D’Auria: Yes. Today it’s all about modern libraries and the changing roles that libraries play. You know, back in the early days, libraries were funded by sometimes a local philanthropist, maybe a Rockefeller type. But as towns and cities started to see the value of having a public, they could read well. They really embraced libraries. And one of the first large public libraries was the Boston Public Library, and that opened in 1854.
David Martin: Okay, well, there’s still libraries, but like everything else, modern world kind of big changes. So our library still relevant. I mean, what’s up with libraries today?
Carol D’Auria: Well, you know, there are some mundane problems, like library buildings that are so old, they don’t even have enough electric outlets to charge people’s cell phones and laptops. There are some heavy duty concerns, like the censorship of books.
David Martin: Well, you know, funny you say that, because, you know, I’ve been reading articles about librarians. Librarians coming under fire. You know, librarians are being threatened. They’re being harassed on social media. They’re calling for book bannings. I mean, they’re trying to take out books like Huck Finn and, you know, other books that talk about, I guess, alternative or alternate lifestyles.
You know, libraries are coming under fire.
Carol D’Auria: And that is a whole show in and of itself that we could spend a lot of time talking about.
David Martin: Yes, we probably could.
Carol D’Auria: Right. But then there are problems that people bring to the libraries because they really need help. So libraries are really changing and that’s the focus of libraries now. Our podcast, How Libraries Are More Than Just Books and some videos.
David Martin: Right. And libraries are still relevant.
Carol D’Auria: Oh, absolutely.
David Martin: But with our ability to download books, I would think that, you know, people probably just don’t go to the library that much.
Carol D’Auria: Well, you know, and that’s where we should begin in Las Vegas, Nevada. Kelvin Watson is the director of the Las Vegas Clark County Library District. And he says it right there. You don’t have to physically go to the library anymore. Believe it or not, you can do it on a public bus.
David Martin: Maybe in a casino. Could you see the casino? Check out a book? Yeah.
Carol D’Auria: Listen to this.
David Martin: You’ll do. You’re at the tables, you’re losing and you’re like, I got to get a book on how to win. So I think that would be a good example.
Carol D’Auria: You would think of that?
David Martin: Well, you know, I like to read anyway. So. So what did he say?
Carol D’Auria: Okay, so here’s what he says about the public bus. Say you’re on the bus and you go into your doctor’s office or you go into a shopping mall. But it’s down time. You just sitting there but reads the.
David Martin: Library, like when you can’t get a seat at the table because the $20 tables full.
Carol D’Auria: That’s right. All right. So you go sit on the bus, right. And you can reach the library, believe it or not. Right from the seat on the bus.
David Martin: Or the casino.
Carol D’Auria: Or the casino. Here’s Kelvin Watson.
Kelvin Watson: We have 400 busses that we’re able to provide digital library services to the community via a QR code. And if you’re also a visitor, we provide you an opportunity for 14 days of access to our digital resources here. We have a bus that’s wrapped as well, like the library. So it looks like a library, but it’s actually a bus.
And we also are advertising and promoting the library, 50 of our bus stops near our urban library in the in the community. We have 25 physical locations to essentially, you know, the idea is to expand the library and promote a library beyond the physical walls so that you don’t have to come into the library physically if you don’t want to.
You can access the digital resources practically from anywhere.
Carol D’Auria: Would you believe they have 8000 new library card holders because of those busses? And it gets even better if you need a shower. Their library can help you out with that too.
Kelvin Watson: There are some libraries doing who will have showers come you know partner with a company that does that and come on site to offer showers to two individuals. Actually, the day that we plan to launch our full service, we’re actually planning to have shower services available for that. For that, we will call for that event, for that launch of the event as we you know, as we move forward.
So, yes, old libraries do that as well, provide showers, feed meals to people, you know, especially children. During the summer, for example, when there is no school, you know, necessarily a session that we’re able to offer meals to to students.
David Martin: Well, Carol, it sounds like what he’s describing is more like a community center, really, than a library.
Carol D’Auria: Exactly. Over the years, libraries have offered workshops and guest speakers.
David Martin: Well, you know, I remember back to story time. I mean, I loved it when my mom dropped me off for storytime at the library. I got to hear a good story. I got to see my friends and I got to check out any book I wanted.
Carol D’Auria: Me to get my library card. I was so proud of that thing. I had it in my purse and it was just.
David Martin: Well, sure. You know, when you’re six, that’s your driver’s license.
Carol D’Auria: Like it’s like a coming of age book.
David Martin: I mean, I have my own library. I don’t need you. I have a library card. But the libraries have clearly moved beyond story time. So let me tell you about a place I found out about in Richland County, South Carolina, and there library program.
Carol D’Auria: What’s happening in Richland?
David Martin: Well, in part, one of the things they’ve done is they’ve turned their library into space for a speakers bureau, and they created a program called Let’s Talk Race. And the idea was to use local authors, bring them into the library and speak on different issues, on social justice and, you know, whatever else can.
Carol D’Auria: Hold that customer spark an awful lot of conversation.
David Martin: It does. So much. So they expanded their program. In fact, they had a recent program. They had a speaker who was affected by the church shooting in South Carolina. And he talked about gun violence. Really, from a personal perspective. And they also had a discussion where they talked directly to teens about gun violence. So, you.
Carol D’Auria: Know, it’s.
David Martin: Conversation.
Carol D’Auria: It’s amazing guns in libraries. It’s just not what you expect at a library.
David Martin: No, and that’s exactly the point. It’s just a way that libraries are changing. It’s another way they’re expanding and changing in their community. In Richland, they hold art classes, they teach things like needlepoint or scrapbooking. And they also have a movie club where they gather to watch movies and critique movies. That’s the movie club. But they also just, you know, show movies to international residents.
They can go to the library and they can take a class and learning how to speak English. And they also have a session where you can go to the library, sit down and talk to a lawyer, and get free legal advice.
Carol D’Auria: That is so much more than storytelling.
David Martin: Well, but they still have story time, too. And all. In Richland there are 13 branches and they’re all doing innovative things. You can talk to a library, social worker. They can connect you to the folks and get you the right services. And they even put out the magazine, in fact, a recent issue and an article about how to have a productive family dinner conversation.
So everybody’s not interrupting.
Carol D’Auria: Exactly.
David Martin: Like there’s a lot of times families or they all just yell and scream.
Carol D’Auria: They do that, right?
David Martin: Yeah. Well, see, your family, your family definitely needs to read this something like.
Carol D’Auria: All right.
David Martin: Participate. Participate in a meaningful way with, you know, no challenges.
Carol D’Auria: Yes. But you know what? I want to talk about that story. Time just for one second. It that’s how you get kids interested in reading. And they will take that reading habit and the storytime, the wonderful memories. They’ll have it for a lifetime.
David Martin: Sure.
Carol D’Auria: It’s great.
David Martin: Right. And then they’ll you know, you probably you probably read books to your daughter. They will read to you as a kid. Right?
Carol D’Auria: Exactly.
David Martin: I had I gave my daughter my mother’s Winnie the Pooh book.
Carol D’Auria: Oh, really?
David Martin: Right. So she read the same play, some other role. Exactly. So, yes, story time. It’s a gift that keeps on giving, right?
Carol D’Auria: Yes, exactly. It’s exactly what it is. And this is what we’re talking about, the way libraries are changing and growing and being more reflective in their community. Let’s go to Jackson County, Missouri. Emily Becker is the spokesperson there and she says they’ve partnered with the health department in that county on a program called Connect Here.
Emily Becker: The Connect Here program essentially consists of a couple of kiosks inside two of our branches, and they’re specifically in branches and areas where the Jackson County Health Department out there with the highest need for this type of services. So connect here. There’s a kiosk with a survey that you fill out, and it’s a survey about your basic needs, essentially housing, food, transportation, child care, things like that.
And you submit that survey through it goes to the Jackson County Health Department. And then within a couple of business days, you hear back from the health department and they can connect to resources in the area to help you with some of those needs. So as you marked down that there were maybe some food security concerns, they can connect you with local food banks.
You know, if you needed health care or mental health resources, they can connect you with resources in the area that can help you with that. And so it’s really a great program, you know, gives people an opportunity to get some support from community resources that they might not be aware of.
Carol D’Auria: So you can hear how the whole concept of library is changing.
Emily Becker: Libraries are, you know, there is space there, community space there. We oftentimes refer to our branches as kind of a third phase. It’s not work, it’s not home. It’s just a place that you can spend time. It’s one of the only places that you can really go and just spend extended periods of time. You don’t have to spend any money.
Nobody expects anything of you. And, you know, I think people really look to the public library because of that as a trusted space where they can find things that they need.
David Martin: You know, when you hear how many speak, you realize you kind of don’t even need the library.
Carol D’Auria: Exactly, right? Of course, l you have one, that’s great. you can take out books and if you don’t bring it back, of course, there is a fine. There always has been. But, you know, even that has changed. Here’s Emily again in Missouri.
Emily Becker: We also have a program that we run a couple of times a year called Food or Find, which is kind of part of our, you know, ways that we can help our broader community. So Food for Times is a program we host twice a year where folks can bring in nonperishable food items and place of money to pay off their fines.
So each item you bring in counts as a dollar and you can donate those nonperishable items to your local branch. And then after the program is over, our branches give those items to their local food pantries.
Carol D’Auria: So folks can still pay their fines at a rate of $0.05 a day. But the library, at least in Jackson County, Missouri, is willing to forgive the fines or make these alternate food arrangements whenever it’s necessary. I certainly wish they had done that with me and my son when he was a young kid in grammar school. One time, David, I didn’t realize he had taken out a book and never returned it.
And then one day in the mail I get a bill for like $20 bill.
David Martin: Did you read the book?
Carol D’Auria: What do you think?
David Martin: I’m sure he did.
Carol D’Auria: Oh, my God.
David Martin: So what was the book. Do you remember?
Carol D’Auria: No, I don’t remember. I just remember the bill.
David Martin: I’m sure.
Carol D’Auria: So I called the library and she says, I’m sorry, but, you know, failure to return a book. It’s like I had bought the book, right? Well, needless to say, my son got more than a time out for that little insight.
David Martin: I hope you put him in a corner. Turn the chair.
Carol D’Auria: Right and read the book.
David Martin: Maybe just a couple of chapters. Well, I was pretty good about fines as a kid because I was a reader and I always went to the library. So, you know, I think I went every week and the school library even more, more frequently. My problem was I would take out too many books. I come home with a big stack and, you know, if it was a new book at a return in 14 days, there was a little window.
And I didn’t always get to finish all those books in 14 days. So a few finds.
Carol D’Auria: Oh, so let me guess, did you cut lawns or something to pay the library or.
David Martin: Something like that? But hey, I found another great library story for us. Do you remember last season we talked about that sensory trail in Harford County, Maryland?
Carol D’Auria: Oh, yes. It was a park that was created just for special needs kids who needed more than just swings in the park.
David Martin: Right. Well, look, special needs kids not only do need to park, but they also need their library and they need to use it differently. And that’s when the folks in Durham County, North Carolina, they realized they needed to address special issues for the special needs kids there, I hope.
Carol D’Auria: Don’t tell me they put a drum in the library.
David Martin: We’re saving the drum for the Harford County, for the sensory trail, for the park outside. But we saved that for the park. But you know, those fidget toys that people play with tonight, do you have any future to.
Carol D’Auria: Yeah, I love those things.
David Martin: All right. Well, bubble wrap.
Carol D’Auria: Yes. Right.
David Martin: All that stuff. Okay. Well, what they did was in Durham County, they built a sensory room that has bubble walls.
Carol D’Auria: I love popping bubbles.
David Martin: Oh, well, who doesn’t? One room has. It’s. Well, it’s basically a vibrating water bed, so kids can, like, seals in music. What they wanted to do, what they wanted to do was create a safe space where kids in need just decompress and have a place where they can go and relax and unwind.
Carol D’Auria: Can you check out a fidget toy? That’s what I want to know.
David Martin: Well, I don’t know if you can check it out if they have them. What they do have are these sensory kits and they include things like those toys are squeeze balls, sunglasses, noise canceling headphones.
Carol D’Auria: It’s a great use of library space. Why not?
David Martin: It is. And it all started with someone watching the library and they approached the library and it’s kind of a funny story. She was working on her third day and someone asked, you know, Do the libraries have regular programs for kids with special needs? A librarian said, Yeah, sure we do. I mean, it was just her day where she could or couldn’t.
So she said, Yes, it sounds like a good idea. Why not?
Carol D’Auria: And you know, that’s great that you took the initiative and ran with it. A government worker saying, yes, I can.
David Martin: And that’s essentially how Durham County’s practicing inclusivity initiative got started. State and federal dollars helped get the program off the ground there, created those rooms, they created a program, and they train the staff. And now it’s just part of the fabric. The library.
Carol D’Auria: All right. So now let’s talk about something else that libraries are doing, and that is they’re going virtual.
David Martin: And we’ll have more about the virtual library after the break. First, a word from our sponsor, the National Association of Counties.
The Good Government Show welcomes a new sponsor for season two, and that’s NACO. And that’s the National Association of Counties. Carol, did you know that county government affects more people than any other form of government?
Carol D’Auria: Well, I do now. Funny you would think city or the federal government is bigger.
David Martin: Well, right, but. But it’s not. You’d think about this. Roads, highways, hospitals, schools, recycling, law enforcement, water, sewers: in most of the country, those services are maintained by the county. That’s county government.
Carol D’Auria: And we want to see good county government. And that’s where Naco comes in.
David Martin: Exactly. They’re a nationwide organization that represents all 3,069 counties across the U.S..
Carol D’Auria: Now, that’s a lot of support and more importantly, brain power.
David Martin: Exactly. And they have many organizations and committees and they do things like share best practices and they work together on national issues.
Carol D’Auria: And they are urban, suburban and rural counties that have different challenges. But they can still work together.
David Martin: Yes, they all work together. So NACO helps county government work better. And as we see in this and other episodes, when county government works well, that’s just good government.
Carol D’Auria: So thanks, NACO, for providing us with great stories and helping support good government.
David Martin: And thanks NACO for supporting the good government. And remember, citizens, don’t forget to vote.
Welcome back to the Good Government Show. I’m Dave Martin.
Carol D’Auria: David, I mentioned before the libraries always have offered classes on various subjects. In fact, I even took a yoga class. It was kind of cool at my library, but like all of us, it was.
David Martin: Taken with all the books surrounding you in the middle of the life.
Carol D’Auria: Well, they had a special library, a special little room for that. Yeah. So we didn’t bump into the books.
David Martin: Did you get a light book on the way in or not? All right. Anyway, so you’ll get to yoga at the library.
Carol D’Auria: Right, right. And but like all of us, the library has to learn to do things virtually. You know, ever since COVID and a library in Fairfax County, Virginia, held, would you believe, a virtual bootcamp recently? Deb Smith Cohen knows all about that.
Deb Smith Cohen: So we came up with the idea for the Small Business Bootcamp and submitted our proposal at the beginning of March 2020. Two weeks later, of course, the library closed. So we had submitted our proposal for a bootcamp to be held either in the fall or in the spring. And and we were all becoming experts on Zoom. And we also had we’re following the news that indicated that as people were leaving other jobs, they were looking at pursuing their entrepreneurial interests and that there really was a market for this program to go forward, but that it would need to be virtual.
We put together a list of presenters to present some basic presentations that covered handling money, building your business plan, finding local industry specific information to understand your market, your competitors, getting the financial data that would support requests for funding. Or we also had a speaker on marketing skills, on hiring and managing employees, on launching an effective launch strategy and a small mention on social media presence.
We held all of the eight courses on zoom across four weeks, leading twice a week in the evenings.
Carol D’Auria: So 40 people registered for that virtual class. 25 people actually completed the class, which is not a bad ratio. One of them was a young woman named Emabet Teddese. She always wanted to start her own business. So she was just a perfect candidate for this course. She wanted to start a company to teach ethnic food cooking but made simple.
And she says the bootcamp really opened her eyes. And of course, with the library absolutely free.
Emabet Teddese: I’ve always known there are resources out there, but not to the level this depth. But this course also expanded on the level of resources that are out there. It’s a wealth of knowledge that I think I’ve only cost a quarter of it, but there are databases that I learned about that were free. I canceled some of my subscriptions to magazine and like LinkedIn, sorry to say it, but because they had it, there were a lot of resources available to me for free that were like a godsend.
Carol D’Auria: You know, and here’s something else she said about libraries that I never really considered. She said she can trust the library information more than others sources.
Emabet Teddese: You could Google stuff like I Googled and YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, all the social media stuff out there. But there’s always like, well, do they really know what they’re talking about? Is this valid? Is it not valid? That is always so and helps alleviate a lot of that.
Carol D’Auria: David You know what else is changing the infrastructure of buildings? Here’s Emily Becker of Jackson County, Missouri, and she gave a good description of that. Listen to this.
David Martin: Well, do they have showers there? I mean, that would be a good use.
Carol D’Auria: Those showers, the snow.
David Martin: Showers, this one. Okay. Let’s hear Emily.
Emily Becker: Our library director, used to joke that our older buildings, you know, they were built with like one plug on each wall. And that was for the vacuum cleaner to come in and and clean up the library at the end of the day. But today, people come in and they want to be able to plug in their devices.
They want to use the why. They want to reserve one of our private meeting rooms so that they can have, you know, a small business meeting or a tutoring session or just a quiet place to work, you know, so people use the library in different ways today than they have before. And so we’ve adjusted our services and resources to keep up with those needs.
David Martin: Before we go, you have to talk about the old bookmobile. You did a story about Pokemon Bills last season.
Carol D’Auria: Yes, the shadow of a county mobile library. This is something other libraries are doing now.
David Martin: Right. And one of the places is in Scott County, Minnesota. That’s a Minneapolis Saint Paul suburb. They’re using their bookmobile to improve preschool literacy. Other bookmobile is allowed disconnected citizens, a strong Internet connection.
Carol D’Auria: And that was part of the Chattanooga a mission to they helped with online forums and application and some of those applications. It’s like you have to be a Philadelphia lawyer and you need help.
David Martin: Right. And one of the other areas where libraries are making a difference is in workspace. You know, one of the current trends, more people are working from home, but libraries are creating a space to work from home. But actually you’re working at the library.
Carol D’Auria: Well, that makes sense because not everyone can work from home. Sometimes there are just so many distractions and sometimes you don’t have a good Internet connection.
David Martin: Right, so what libraries are doing is they’re creating a workspace and meeting spaces.l
Carol D’Auria: And showers.
David Martin: Back to the showers.
Carol D’Auria: I love the libraries that have showers. It really changes it from a library with books to a real community center that can provide so many services for so many people.
David Martin: And we’re going to talk more about those after the break.
Carol D’Auria: The good government show is sponsored by Liquid. Welcome back to season two, Liquid.
David Martin: And we still love Liquid and not just because they are a sponsor again. But Carol, here’s a fun fact. A recent study found that over 80% of retail shoppers conduct online research before making a purchase. Do you do that?
Carol D’Auria: Well, yeah. You know, I do it when I know what I’m buying. Like, for instance, we needed some bug spray for the backyard. We were having a party, but we have dogs. So I didn’t want anything toxic for the dogs? So I had to run down a lot of products online.
David Martin: So you did your research.
Carol D’Auria: I did.
David Martin: All right. Good. And if you’re in a business, you really have to do your research because you really want to evaluate who you’re working with and making sure the company you are about to partner with, you want to make sure it’s a good fit.
Carol D’Auria: That makes sense. So you want to stand out to other companies that are checking your company out.
David Martin: Exactly. And that’s where Liquid comes in. They can help your business create a digital presence with impact. So you can be impressive to new businesses and keep your customers.
Carol D’Auria: And it’s not just about a website. See how much I’ve learned about Liquid since the first season?
David Martin: You are Liquid-aware, good for you, right. So they can guide you where to advertise, make sure your social media is relevant, and it engages your customers. They want to make sure your digital story answers your potential customers’ questions before they even have to ask them.
Carol D’Auria: And that’s but Liquid is good at: creating a full marketing and online digital presence.
David Martin: Liquid’s been around for nearly two decades. They have a lot of experience and a lot of research to back up their.
Carol D’Auria: Plans and they have a team of designers, marketers, strategists and developers that can help companies in many industries with award winning creative campaigns, content and websites.
David Martin: All good reasons to have Liquid plan your next digital marketing strategy. So check them out and talk to a liquid professional. Visit them at www.liquidint.com, that’s www.liquidint.com.
Carol D’Auria: And you will love Liquid as much as we do.
David Martin Because they’re our sponsor. We love Liquid.
We want to welcome back as a sponsor to the Good Government Show, Kutztown University of Kutztown, Pennsylvania.
Carol D’Auria: And you want to talk about their rugby team?
David Martin: Well, they do have a good rugby team that just won a national tournament. And what I did was I called a friend, his daughter played at Kutztown, she played on the rugby team and asked him what did he like best about Kutztown?
Carol D’Auria: You mean besides the rugby team?
David Martin: Yeah, besides the team, obviously the team first. But he responded immediately and said something I didn’t know. His favorite thing is the chicken tower or it’s also called the Angry Chicken.
Carol D’Auria: What? I hesitate to ask. The Angry Chicken?
David Martin: Well, it’s such a landmark that it’s actually the school’s logo. It’s a clock tower. And apparently when you look from a special angle, the clock looks a little bit like a chicken with an open beak. So it’s the angry chicken.
Carol D’Auria: Okay, then. Well, let’s talk about the other stuff like that their degree program in music business is now nationally accredited. They offer undergraduate certificates in cybersecurity and technical writing.
David Martin: So is this what we do? Is this technical writing?
Carol D’Auria: Oh, no, no, no. Take his class and maybe get better at writing.
David Martin: Oh, come on. That’s not fair. You know what? You would benefit from the new graduate certificate program and be a school social worker. Maybe you’d be nicer.
Carol D’Auria: All right, well, the point is, Kutztown is a forward-looking university. They also offer Pell Promise scholarships. And for students to qualify, student tuitions and fees are all covered.
David Martin: And that’s just some of why we like Kutztown and are happy to be associated with this university. Oh, my friend thought it was really cool that sometimes the locals stay right here in a horse and buggy. So check out Kutztown University. That’s Kutztown University and cheer on the rugby team.
Carol D’Auria: Of course.
David Martin: Yes, please.
So as we’ve talked about, libraries are doing really incredible things and to the user it’s all free. So how does the government help here?
Carol D’Auria: Well, many of the libraries do receive state funding, and then some of them have what they call Friends of the Library Foundation that provides money. And many of the things that we heard about today, the libraries are partnering with other county departments, for instance, Jackson County, Missouri, the health department providing services to the library. And the kiosks that we heard about came from the health department.
So there is no nothing extra that they had to buy in Fairfax, Virginia, when they did the boot camp. Well, the first year, the Speakers Bureau was all volunteer. The second year the speakers were getting paid. They also apply for grants. So there’s a variety of funding sources, but without a doubt the libraries can function without their county and the state governments.
David Martin: So it’s the local library, the county, the state and other municipalities all working together to find something that everybody needs.
Carol D’Auria: Yes, absolutely.
David Martin: So I got to talk with Michele Cappozella. She’s the director of the May Impact Library, a friend of mine actually volunteers at the Mahopac Library. That’s how I met Michelle. And Mahopac is outside of New York City. And at this small town library, they offer different services and they provide space for groups, among other things. And I asked her what people say about what the library offers.
Michele Cappozella: People just thank us, you know, thank us for being here. Thank us for providing again, providing a space. They love our programs. They love to come to the program.
David Martin: She also brought up another reason why people love their library or at least one thing parents appreciate.
Michele Cappozella: We have a gaming a gaming club for teens when they come here. It’s just kind of a place, a safe place to hang out for, you know, again, all ages, like the kids, the teens come here. Their parents know it’s a safe place to come and hang out.
Carol D’Auria: Well, that’s really important. You know, as a working mom, it is hard to try and do your work and always look over your kid’s shoulder to see what they’re doing on the computer.
David Martin: Right.
Carol D’Auria: They’re getting into trouble.
David Martin: Yes, you’re right, Carol. That’s important. But there’s something else here. And this is something that Michelle said. She said going to the library is one of the few places where anyone can go and just sit for as long as they want. No charge. They’re out to buy coffee then or to buy lunch. So to buy anything, they can just sit, they can read, they can write, they can compute all of it for free as long as they want.
Carol D’Auria: Isn’t that amazing? You know, you’re so right about this. I didn’t think of that. I mean, you see people hanging out at coffee places, but everyone has white coffee or something, and that’s what you have to do to sit there.
David Martin: And it gets better because at the library, guess what? You can actually bring your own snacks, you.
Carol D’Auria; Know, why isn’t it amazing at one time you could never bring food into a library?
David Martin: Well, there are rules. You know, you have to be clean, not messy. But many libraries have put in coffee bars. So you can have coffee, you can have a snack. And before you go, I want to give a librarian the last word on libraries today.
Michele Cappozella: When it comes down to it, libraries are very versatile and we’ve changed over the years so much. And I don’t think a lot of people realize that because people say we don’t need libraries anymore because we don’t read. You know, people don’t read. People don’t it’s you know, it’s so much more than that. And I think if people who have that attitude would come to a library, they would be super surprised at what we have.
Basically, I think if you’re not using the library, I think you’re missing out. I think libraries have a lot more things than you think. So I would say go to your library and see all the stuff that they offer. And you would be you be surprised there’s something there you’re going to be interested in.
Carol D’Auria: Can I confess? I really want to take a shower in a library.
David Martin: What is with you as showers in the library?
Carol D’Auria: I’m just so fascinated. It’s so different.
David Martin: Well, good. Then I guess we’ll have to fly you down to Texas if you take a shower.
Carol D’Auria: I’m just amazed at how versatile libraries are. The coffee bars, the speakers, English language classes and the free legal advice is great. All part of the modernization of libraries.
David Martin: It really is an excellent use of government dollars. I know that I gave a library in the last word already, but I want to read something. And I found this on the on the website for the May Impact Library. This is the section where they talk about not having overdue funds. And this bears listening to we believe our community is stronger, healthier and engages in more robust and civil discourse.
When residents have access to the information they need to pursue their educational, career, family and life goals, we believe late fees and overdue fines act as a barrier to the free flow of information, thereby reducing civic engagement.
Carol D’Auria: And they are an inspiring way to look at libraries.
David Martin: I really is. I mean, right there, they’re saying come to the library, everyone come to the library. We’re going to be a better community. We’re going to be better citizens for it. And as we’ve heard, they’re right.
Carol D’Auria: They’re right. It brings people together. I’m Carol D’Auria, this is a good government show. We’ll see you next time when we will tell you another story about government working.
David Martin: Thanks for listening. If you like our show, please tell your friends to listen, too. Follow us and like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and be part of the conversation. And please give us a five star rating right here when you’re listening to this podcast. Your support helps us continue to tell stories of good government in action.
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The Good Government Show is produced by Valley Park Productions. Jim Ludlow, David Martin and David Snyder are the executive producers. Jason Stershic is our producer and editor. Some transcriptions were done by Kofi Ajeasi Ampah. Our hosts are me, David Martin and Carol D’Auria. Join us again for the Good Government Show, wherever you listen to podcasts.