Today is National Library Workers Day, a day to celebrate library staff, users, and administrators. National Library Workers Day always falls on the Tuesday during National Library Week, and is an opportunity to recognize these hard workers and the contributions they make to our communities. With today’s economy and budget cuts their efforts are often made in the face of adversity. But these same dire circumstances that saddle our libraries with slashed funding have caused more people than ever to visit their local branches as they use available resources to search for employment or plan their own business startups.
When I was a teenager there was a giant new library just a few miles from my home. It was a study in efficiency and in spite of its institutional atmosphere I felt welcome and at ease every time I walked in the door. I used to love going to this particular branch to work on school reports. And really, this was when the internet was just beginning to enter people’s homes, so microfiche and encyclopedias were still the best research references. Later, when I left home to attend James Madison University, I had access to a much older, but equally impressive library (and I hear the new campus has an even better one!). JMU’s library was my first experience wandering in the “stacks,” which were book-filled half-floors, sometimes so empty that they were rumored to be the location of numerous crimes. When I left school and moved to Fredericksburg I felt out of place in the local library. I mourned the loss of the libraries of my younger years and turned instead to the internet and book stores for reading material.
Last October the Central Rappahannock Regional Library opened the new England Run branch in Stafford County. Since then Chris and I have both mentioned how much we’d like to visit the new building, but hadn’t gotten around to making the short twenty minute trip to the site. In celebration of today’s “unofficial” we decided to finally visit the new branch and familiarize ourselves with the 30,000 square foot layout. When we arrived one of the librarians offered to show us around, and I was equally impressed by her friendliness and outgoing nature as I was by the library itself.