Libraries Make Shh… Happen

These libraries celebrate community through programming dedicated to exploring the humanity of readers and creating inclusive spaces—reminding us that we’re all interconnected.

Alessandro Biascioli/Adobe Stock

Libraries are community hubs, alive with curious readers and researchers, storytelling, and curated workshop programming. The Library of Things takes community services found in libraries one step further. With locations throughout the United Kingdom, the Library of Things lets people borrow “things” they may otherwise buy or not have access to. The process is simple: Reserve, let’s say, a sewing machine, pasta maker, steam cleaner, or cordless hedge trimmer from the online catalog, pick it up at a local self-service kiosk, use the thing, and return it for the next person to use when you’re done. Sound familiar?

Quiet Time

One Saturday each month from October to December 2022, the Tazewell County Public Library in Virginia has opened exclusively to children with autism and their families for their new program Autism in the Library. “We decided to design a program specifically for children with autism because they’re welcome in their library,” outreach services coordinator Tammy Powers told WVVA. During the event, the library offers story time, a sensory room with kinetic sand, clay, Lego, building blocks, and a quiet room.

Lost and Found

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a precious family photo, a piece of children’s art, a love letter never sent, or a scribbled note tucked in a library book worth? Perhaps a public exhibition. Ten years ago, Sharon McKellar, a librarian at the Oakland Public Library in California, began collecting the objects left in returned books. Now, the public library displays her collection in an exhibition called “Found in a Library Book,” offering snapshots of the lives of anonymous readers in the community.

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