The library to me is a place where a community can come together as a group. When I was younger the library was a place for the everyone to gather, where we would read books, watch movies and engage with one another. It allowed us to have a place to learn, and interact with other kids around the same age. As I got older the library became less of a resource place to enjoy books, but was used as a study area. I primarily only used the library during exam time, as it was a place for me to not get distracted and be able to work on my studies. However even with using it as a study place it was still a sense of collective environment that everyone would go to so they could study as well. We would then be able to work as a communal group and share ideas. As I got older the sense of the library continued to have a meaningful place in my life as it will always be the foundations of where I learned to read, a place where I could engage with others and a focused and quiet environment.From being young and using the library as a place to learn and connect with others it continued into my teens. The library is a place where I can have a positive learning environment and experience.
A place to study, read, and research, the Aurora Public Library has been a part of my life even before I learned to read. As a child, my mother would take me and my older brother to the Aurora library on a weekly basis. For us, it was a place of comfort and fun- especially since we got to spend our time in the kids’ playroom while our mom picked out a book or used a computer. Growing up, I noticed I spent less and less time taking advantage of this constructive resource my town had to offer.
My generation was exposed, at a considerably young age, to advanced, modern technology. By the time I was in grade 7, for example, almost every student in my class owned their own computer. At this point, the convenience of the Aurora Public Library was questionable, to say the least. I didn’t see the point in taking a trip to the library only to spend hours of time trying to find research in books, when I could simply find anything I wanted on Google in just a few seconds. Only when I reached high school did I begin to go to the library as it promoted a quiet, focused atmosphere. The library is a place I go when I need to get something done- usually a school paper or assignment. Physically going to the library became worth it as I found myself becoming much more productive with my school work. Today, the library may not be a place I go to on a regular basis, but it is still an important resource for me and my community.
I grew up in a fairly small town north of Toronto. Where I’m from, our library – The Aurora Public Library – was less of place to rent books and more of a valuable commodity to the many members of our lively community. I spent many evenings meeting classmates in the convenient, yet significantly limited secluded study rooms offered by the establishment. The quiet, calm environment presented us with the possibility to truly focus in a less distracting setting than the ones which usually surrounded us at home or at school and the library itself proved to be an ideal central meeting spot, especially around exam periods.
Although the only time I actually made use of the services my library had to offer was when I was feeling particularly studious, I also made a point to visit with my younger brother, who greatly enjoyed a specific room of the establishment distinctively intended for children. Filled with colourful books, puzzles, and toys, this room was not only entertaining due to its varied content but also for the frequent events that unfolded every so often, attracting a crowd of curious preschoolers, eager for the Story Time Sessions, the Library Lego Days or the Arts&Crafts Program.
So when questioned on my local library, I connected these two purposes for frequenting the organization and understood that the major significance of the Aurora Public Library lay in its role as a community and cultural centre, this which promotes personal productivity and social engagement, all while allowing people of all ages and backgrounds to associate with each other, share ideas, and come to better understand themselves and their neighbourhood.
The Vaughan Public Library was a very important resource that I frequently used as a child. From signing out books to signing out movies to watch at home, the library was a resource that was very beneficial to me through many aspects. During my elementary school years, I did most of my research for projects and assignments by renting out non-fiction textbooks, in order to gather all my information, considering I did not own a computer at the time. By helping me research about various topics, the library allowed me to gain an immense amount of knowledge. My hometown library is also important to me because it allowed me to have access to the internet and to computers. As a child I did not own a computer until high school, therefore I would spend a great amount of time in the library, searching the web. Having access to the computers and internet allowed me to be entertained, communicate with others, and type / print important documents. My hometown library also had a wide variety of movies that all library users were able to sign out. As a child I always looked forward to visiting the library, because it provided me with a source of entertainment that I could use at home, which was very beneficial to me as a child. My hometown library was a very important resource to me and my family. My mom reads a lot of magazines, therefore we would visit the library at least once a week so that I could sign out books to read at home, and so she could sign out a wide variety of magazines to read on her spare time. My brother loves story books and kids movies, therefore he also spent a lot of time in the library reading all the different books he could find and signed out many kids movies to watch at home. To conclude, my hometown library was very important to me because it granted me access to many things I did not have at home, it allowed me to communicate with others and expand my knowledge.
Growing up, I would always visit the library twice a week, maybe even more, but as I got older the reasons why I would go started to change. In general, reading was always a passion of mine and I would always go to the library to read in the quiet or take out books that interested me. Once I got to high school, it was mainly the environment that really made me feel better. The peace and quiet was always something I liked when I needed to get something done. This led me to attending my public library which happened to be right beside my high school quite a bit when it came to exams. It was important to me because it was a great study place, the resources were incredible, and you would bump into people you might have not thought you would after a long period of time. What I adored about my library was that there were places beside it where teens and adults were able to go to grab a snack, this was very useful to mainly me and my group of friends when it came to studying till the evening. My favourite thing about my library was the respect that was spread all around. For me, when it comes to being in a different setting, wherever you would go, respect should always be shown and given. It meant a lot to me how people were respectful towards others when they were studying or silently reading.
My hometown library is important to me because it brings me joy and comfort in many different ways, from when I was a child to the present. The library in my hometown is the Clarington Public Library and I thought of it like another home. Reading books as a child, having a special area just for kids, it brought a new adventure for me. To this day the library still brings me happiness every time I go to search for a new undiscovered book to read, to sit for hours in peacefulness. The feeling of not having to think about life for a couple of hours and just escape into a book’s world is the best pastime. It was also kind of a routine, or a special outing that my mom and I could do together, just the two of us. I believe that the library is a place like no other and it will always have some importance to me.
Having a public library was important to me because that is where I spent most of my free time as a child. My hometown is Toronto and there are many libraries but the one I went to frequently was the Agincourt Public Library. English was not my first language and the library helped to ease the process of transferring from Chinese to English, there were many children’s books to teenage fictions for me to enjoy while learning. After entering middle school, there were not a lot of time for me to physically go to a library and read books there so this habit of visiting libraries stopped. If you ask me is library still important to me I will still have the same answer because now I use it differently, more as a study area than going there to read books.
Throughout life we as students and adults have needed the library at some point in our life. Wether it’s for a book, movie, or a quiet study session it provides us with the chance to increase our knowledge or use certain properties to help us. My hometown library was the White oaks Public Library, as a kid it was very useful for printing papers or large amounts of resumes. Having a lot of siblings with limited amount of computers was a pain growing up, but with the help of my hometown library it gave me the opportunity to check my Facebook, chat with people and regularly sign books out. Overall the main importance isn’t just me but for all types of people in need of educating themselves through books and interactions with others at White oaks Public Library.
The Guelph Library Project class has met twice now and the students are ready to start thinking about libraries and specifically about the new downtown public library.
Today I asked them:
“What was important to you about your hometown public library?”
The students are going to post short answers to this blog over the next few days [Update: here are their posts]
Some used their local library, others not so much. Some of their uses were similar, others quite different. With their posts we are building up a matrix of what libraries mean to them.
One perceptive student asked me:
“Is there an opinion about libraries and the new library that you would like us to agree with?”
The answer is NO!
This course is all about the student’s analysis and their recommendations. They will, I hope, be informed by the research and their interactions with the community. However, it is not about my ideas (biased though I may be).
I hope you enjoy the observations. And please join in the discussion at any time by commenting on the posts or using the hashtag #GuelphLibProject on social media.
Are public libraries relevant in the 21st century? How much do they matter and will communities pay for them? Does Guelph need or want a new downtown public library?
Let’s find out.
The Guelph Library Project explores the initiative pursued over many years (and still unresolved) to build a new public library in downtown Guelph.
Attitudes have certainly changed.
In 2002 Monteith Planning Consultants asked if: “A new downtown Main Library should be a high priority in the City.” The results:
Library Users: 66% (agree or strongly agree)
Non-Library Users: 56% (agree or strongly agree)
Twelve years later in 2014, Forum Research asked: “Do you Support a New Main Library?” The results are very different:
This project is also an integral part of a First Year Seminar course being taught at the University of Guelph. The research, interviews, and most of the postings on this site will be done by those students.
Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie has posed the essential question:
“What is the future of libraries and how is it [the current plan for a new library] going to best fit into that future?”
The course begins on Thursday September 10th and runs until Thursday December 3rd. You are encouraged to not just read about it but to actively participate by commenting on this site and using the hashtag #GuelphLibProject on Twitter and other social media.