October is Library Month in Canada, and there is truly so much to celebrate.
Libraries protect knowledge, promote literacy and creative writing, archive important texts, and support learning. They do all this as part of a free public service, a model based on the principle that access to knowledge and learning should be available to everyone.
Every service and program of our libraries is made possible by library workers. Those working in our libraries include a huge variety of job classifications, the most common of which are librarian, library assistant, library technician and page. No matter what position they serve, library workers face a huge range of challenges.
As libraries have expanded their offerings to provide community meeting rooms, computer access, literacy programs and educational services, they have begun to function as safe spaces for underserved populations, including those lacking shelter, new Canadians, and those seeking employment. As these new services have expanded staff responsibilities, library workers have risen to meet the challenges of the ever-expanding scope of today’s libraries.
This diversity of services clearly indicates that libraries are key community assets that meet a wide range of social, educational and economic needs for diverse and varied populations. Whether it’s a neighbourhood library that has become a de facto community centre, or a university or college library that has evolved into the central hub of campus life, the evolution of a more knowledge-based society has turned libraries into core services for every community they support.
So in this month of celebrating libraries, it is important to celebrate both the institution and those who make it possible. Better yet, let’s commit to protecting and enhancing libraries and better supporting library workers with fair pay, job security, and improved safety along with the resources they need to keep our libraries growing in the years to come.
If you are a library user and supporter, please take the time to call your local government official and remind them of the need to properly fund our libraries, and to properly support library workers. If you haven’t been to a library in while, take an afternoon and check out your local branch. You’ll be amazed at all the library has to offer, including the amazing resource that is your local library worker.