This is National Library Week, when the American Library Association encourages people to thank their local libraries for their services.
We should thank our libraries every day. We should thank them even on the days they are closed. Due to budget cuts, these are getting more frequent.
The Stanislaus County Library System has been affected by budget cuts. Its Modesto branch used to be open every day. In 2008, it started to close on Sundays. In 2010, it began to close on Fridays as well.
Libraries provide the opportunity for all people to learn and have fun. If our libraries closed, the community would be an emptier place.
Here are some of the benefits of the Stanislaus County Library System:
It's free. Reading books is a good hobby, but it can get expensive quickly. Each book, depending on the size and content, can cost anywhere from $10 to hundreds of dollars. E-books are less expensive after you pay the $100-plus for an e-reader.
The library system has 788,734 items, including books, movies and audio books, available for free. Even better, your membership is free. So you can read as much as you want.
Selections: Its nonfiction section has books on subjects from art to zoology. Meanwhile, its fiction section has literary classics and the latest best-sellers. There are also large print novels and biographies for those with impaired vision. There are even out-of-print books available.
Home service: What if you are physically unable come to the library? The library's home delivery service will bring books to you. It is available to use once a month for those who qualify. You can even volunteer to help deliver these books.
The library also has online databases of newspaper and magazine articles you can use from home.
Research: The library has an extensive section of reference books. Although you can read them, you are not allowed to check them out. The library's quiet atmosphere makes it a great place to study.
Educational programs: The library has free educational programs. One of them is ReadingWorks, which helps Modesto adults improve their literacy skills. Another program is called Read to a Dog. It helps kids read by having them read to service dogs. Other programs include storytelling sessions and summer reading programs.
Internet: The library has free Internet and WiFi access. That is a benefit for customers unable to afford Internet access at home. You can use the Internet there to find a job or to do research.
With all these great things the Stanislaus County Library system has to offer, you can see that it's a great investment.
Our library system is maintained primarily through tax dollars and volunteers. The Friends of the Modesto Library has supported the library system since 2008. One of their main venues of support is their annual used book sale. You can support the organization by donating books to the sale, or come buy some books on May 4.
Overall, we are fortunate to have the Stanislaus County Library system. We can support it by visiting our local libraries on a regular basis. That is the best way to see how it is such a great investment.
Boyer is a Modesto resident. Send questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.