ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Meaningful Library

Updated on January 8, 2016

Why write about libraries?

I have resisted writing a blog about libraries for many years. In part, I didn't feel like I had anything to add to an already robust discussion (after all, who better to write a lot about the subject of libraries than a bunch of people who love to read) and in part because I still felt like I was learning so much about the profession, and my own passion for it, that I didn't know if I could even finish a thought, much less a whole article. But after 16 years of working in public libraries, I now feel I might have some insights worth sharing.

Besides, I have never written a blog before, and what better way to learn about them than to do one myself?


And that, in a nutshell, is one of the things I truly love about working in a public library. Whatever I have learned over the past 10 years, it can be either directly or indirectly tied to my chosen profession.

Take technology, for example. I am old enough that we didn't have personal computers in my high school, and we were using punch card computers when I went to college for my undergraduate degree. Then, when I went back for my Masters in Library Science, the entire world had changed. I learned about online databases, building a website, the inner hardware of a PC, and the subtle power of technology to revolutionize the way people accessed information.

I bought my first tablet when patrons started bringing them into the library and asking questions I couldn't answer. I learned to make and edit movies when I got a YALSA grant to make a movie for Teen Tech Week. i set up my first Facebook account in the library, and my first Facebook page was for the library I was working for at the time. Same thing with WordPress, Twitter, and LinkdIn. Would I have discovered these assets without being employed at a library? Maybe. But having people ask me how to use new devices and new networks was instrumental in my learning curve.

And don't even get me started on answering reference questions. Some of the things I have learned would never have crossed my radar without the impetus of helping someone else find the answer they sought.


Beyond enriching my own learning, however, libraries also offer a glimpse into a true representative cross sample of the community. Children, seniors, homeless people, travelers, drunks, genealogists, artists, musicians, writers, community organizers, teens, elected officials...they all come to the library. Everyone wants something a little different; everyone has a different story to share in exchange for my time. I cannot think of a better way to spend my work hours.

Library Staff

And then there are the people who I work with. Employees of public libraries are an interesting breed - introverts that enjoy helping people. We might not always want to talk to the public, but after a certain amount of time working with them, the gratification of seeing a young child so excited about a book they are literally jumping up and down, or the relief on a senior's face when getting help applying for benefits online, and even the gratitude of those less fortunate souls with no place else warm to go for the day far outweighs any sense of social awkwardness.

So that is why I want to write about libraries, and why I think libraries are meaningful, even in the days of Google and instant answers. We are the last bastion of personal help in an era of professionals - true generalists whose passion is to help you ask the right questions, find the right sources, and use the available resources, technological and otherwise, to change your life. And I am grateful everyday for the opportunity.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Your writing is lovely and insightful as always. This is such an interesting perspective. Eye-opening. I can well-imagine the kind of spirit you bring in and evoke. Everything you do has a certain aura of magic and a library is a perfect place for it, being a crossroads of knowledge, story and experience.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Wow Deana, you gave me more insight to this profession then I have ever been told before or even thought about. Sounds like this will be beneficial to a lot of people.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)