AFT Massachusetts is proud to represent school and municipal library employees across Massachusetts. Last week, we observed National Library Week, an annual celebration highlighting the valuable role libraries, librarians, and library workers play in transforming lives and strengthening our communities.
This year’s National Library Week theme, ‘Libraries = Strong Communities,’ illustrates how today’s libraries are at the heart of our cities, towns, schools and campuses, providing critical resources, programs and expertise. They also provide a public space where all community members, regardless of age, culture or income level, can come together to connect and learn.
“Our libraries are a core community space in large cities and small towns alike, and we’re excited to recognize the valuable contributions librarians and library workers make every single day,” said AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos. “From assisting students with research and learning, to providing accessible community gathering spaces that bring people of different backgrounds together, to helping people of all ages discover the joy of reading, libraries make our communities stronger.”
In honor of National Library Week, we asked Massachusetts school and municipal library workers to describe the importance of public libraries, in their own words. Here are their voices:
“I love public libraries because they are one of the last truly egalitarian spaces in American society. There's no 'fast lane' for those with deep pockets.”
–Pat Kelly, President, Massachusetts Library Staff Association
“A free and open space for all is hard to come by, but public libraries fulfill the promise of providing information and services as the cultural epicenters of their communities.”
–Nicole Goolishian, Lynnfield Public Library
“We educate all who come to our doors, from the cradle to the grave. We are centers for lifelong learning. The Internet and new technologies have not made us obsolete. On the contrary, libraries easily adapt to change and are as vibrant as ever. Don't count the library out, instead count the library in for all of your informational, recreational, and educational needs. One of the best bargains you get for your tax dollars are public libraries. Check out your local library today!”
–Dan Haacker, Milton Public Library (retired)