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Your local library can help you in ways you may not know

Luke Alvey-Henderson

Every so often we librarians will hear that age-old refrain, “Who needs libraries anymore?” After all, isn’t everything online now? We all have computers right? Heck, with ebooks, we don’t even need physical books, right? Well, nope, nope and nope!

Most published material is still not readily available online, and very little is available for free. So many people in our community do not have access to high-speed internet, computers, scanners, printers and more (unless you stop by the library). EBooks are not available for all titles and free access to them is mainly available through, that’s right – libraries!

Irrelevant? We'd have to say that public libraries are more relevant than ever. With books, movies, audiobooks (all in different physical and digital formats), storytimes, children’s programs all year long, adult programs, teen programs, study rooms, rentable program rooms, computers, scanner, printers, board games, puppets, birding kits, STEM kits, book clubs in a bag, community partnerships, and so much more, we feel like we have a lot to offer just about anyone in our community.

We’re also more than what we have and what we do. We’re one of the last places you can simply exist for free. Plug in, log on, work for hours, study, read, meditate, whatever – we’re here for you.

Well, but what about costs then? No such thing as a free lunch or a free library. Absolutely, right! And libraries are one of the best ROIs you can get from public investment. For every dollar spent, libraries on average save 4 to 5 dollars. Forget averages, look right into our library where we have above average library usage with below average library spending.

Finally, libraries have one thing that no one else does: librarians. These human search engines do way more than help you find what you need, they also work tirelessly to enrich the whole community. Early literacy, computer training, job skills, community partnerships, you name it, we do it. Like the great author (and lover of libraries) Neil Gaiman said, “Google will bring you back, you know, a hundred thousand answers. A librarian will bring you back the right one.”

Still not convinced? Come on into your local library and try us out. I think you’ll be impressed, surprised and walk away with a library card.

Luke Alvey-Henderson is director of Durango Public Library.