As an immigrant myself, I know the loneliness of feeling like you’re different from everyone because you don’t speak English. I felt as a librarian, I was able to go full-circle and create a welcoming atmosphere for my patrons, and send them a message: You’re not alone, we’re here for you!
Kacper Jarecki Author Archive
If you organize a great program at your library, there might be another library where it will also be a hit. Don’t limit yourself to one library!
I have always wanted to go to New York Comic Con but haven’t so far as it always seemed like it might be too crowded and I also felt that it was too expensive. However, this year I found out about the Pro Pass which is given free of charge to professionals, such as teachers and library workers.
The library’s reach isn’t limited to just its walls. The library’s reach should extend to the whole community. In a way, the whole community is part of the library: the schools, the civic groups, the offices of local politicians, the senior centers, the playgrounds, and much more.
I like to think that I’ve done a lot of good things at my library, but one of my proudest accomplishments is my ping pong club. It all started when I was a librarian at my first library almost ten years ago. My gym had a few ping pong tables, and I thought that it would be fun to have a table at the library for patron use. I sent in my proposal, and the Young Adult coordinator and the Children’s coordinator came over to look at our space. But for whatever reason, the idea fizzled. When I was promoted to assistant manager at another library, the manager had misgivings, so I still wasn’t able to do it. Finally, I became manager, and—success—I got a ping pong table! Sometimes I like to joke around that the only reason I wanted to become manager is because I wanted a ping pong table. Getting started was actually pretty simple: I was able to get a donation of a used table.
The library is full of stories. Not only do we have books and tomes full of stories—both fiction and nonfiction—but by virtue of being an active community center, the library is also a place where so many stories happen. One of the most important things we can do is to listen. It’s by listening that we learn about what the community wants.
The digital divide gets a lot of attention. But in addition to serving the growing digital needs of the community, libraries also serve our children by bridging what I like to term the parental divide. By parental divide, I mean that although some parents stay at home or have babysitters or tutors to look after their kids, many don’t! Some kids are on their own until their parents come home from work. And sometimes things are just rough at home. So where can these kids go? The library! In this way, the library staff becomes a kind of a substitute parent. We make sure the kids are doing their homework, we look at their report cards, we feed them and give them Band-Aids when they get hurt, we make sure they are occupied in a positive way, we teach them courtesies like saying “hello” and “thank you” and the right ways of behaving in a public space.