Stuck in the house all winter? Cold temperatures got you down?
While movie theaters can be warm and ski resorts can be cold, the library can be a good place to cozy up to fend off a long winter’s nap.
“Books are still a big deal,” said Mary Garm, administrator of the Lackawanna County Library System, which has eight locations across Lackawanna County. “People still do a lot of reading. We obviously continue to build strong collections for both print and online.”
She said in an age where iPads, Kindles, iPhones and other digital devices are attached to us to what seems like all of the time, libraries have never been busier or been a bigger part of the community.
“As we become more digital, I see there has been a lot more interest with people coming into the library,” she said.
Garm said they’ve added an ‘online branch’ that is pretty much a full-service library.
“You can download e-books and audio books without ever having to come into the library. You can look at databases and online resources for research,” she said. “As long as you have a library card, you can log in from your home, office or wherever you happen to be and take advantage of those resources.”
Garm said that includes research on topics such as health, the law, genealogy — even how to write software code.
“You can even learn a language using our software,” she said.
She said the library’s website receives about 200,000 hits per month and they circulate about 40,000 e-books in the same period.
“That’s pretty impressive,” she said.
Garm said libraries are often leaders in the community when it comes to teaching people how to use technology, including tutoring.
“You can make an appointment with us and we can help you figure out how to use your iPhone or your tablet,” she said.
She said the library is also a good place for kids learning STEM.
“About a year ago, we launched Creation Stations, which uses the Adobe creative suites,” she said, talking about programs such as Adobe Photoshop. “It works for people who want to learn graphics, audio and video for both personal or business use.”
And while Oprah’s Book Club it might not be, Garm said in the past five years, there’s been an explosion of people getting together to talk about a book they are reading.
“As we become a more digital society, people want to come in and talk to each other about what they are reading,” she said.
With all of the updates and features, Garm said today’s libraries aren’t what they used to be.
“We’re community centers almost,” she said. “People really love it.”