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The World’s Angriest Librarian

Daily News column for Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017 by Kristie Kirkpatrick

While many are busy, watching the flow of tweets coming from President Trump, it was a different Twitterstorm that caught my eye. Click here for the read the “Angriest Librarian is Full of Hope” article.

The storm began with a tweet from Andre Walker, a columnist for the New York Observer who said, “Nobody goes to libraries anymore. Close the public ones and put the books in schools.”

After giving the comments some thought, a student librarian from Portland, Alex Halpern sent the following response. “Hang tight folks, because I am about to drop some necessary knowledge on you. First off, library usage is on the RISE mother*******.”

While Halpern acknowledges that his use of profanity is probably what caught most people’s attention, I hope the resulting conversations move the focus to what is really important, understanding today’s libraries so everyone can take advantage of all we have to offer.

In reality, today’s libraries are modern, welcoming, educational, technical, social, trendsetting, transforming and transformative. A look at upcoming activities in my own library illustrates this very clearly. In the coming week, we’ll provide classes, programs, and community events that serve EVERY age group libraries, schools, daycares, and senior facilities across 14 communities. These include children’s literacy, STEM and early learning classes, after school math, reading and art clubs, first aid, software coding, circuitry, knitting, arts and crafts, a photography exhibit, history exhibits, Medicare assistance, Ukulele lessons, dance classes, exercise, author presentations, adult coloring, ice age floods, community movie, “Happy Hour Yoga,” Fireside community group, Pie & BINGO, technology instruction, and caregiver support.

This list doesn’t even include the day-to-day services, like the lending of books, movies, music, downloadable audio and eBooks, other online collections, technology support, Internet access and public computing, Wi-Fi hotspots, public restrooms, reading and meeting spaces, coffee, and so much more.

All of these classes and services are available in one week from “little” Whitman County Library. Can you imagine what larger libraries like Mr. Walker’s in New York City are accomplishing and the people they are impacting?

Unfortunately, there are some people like Andre Walker who envision a library they used long ago (or perhaps they’ve never really used one). These folks imagine a building full of old books, old ideas and old librarians.

I hope Mr. Walker will visit his library to view all that is new. More importantly, I hope you will visit too.

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