Opinion

There’s something Incredible going on at the library

The Merced County Library on O Street
The Merced County Library on O Street tmiller@mercedsunstar.com

“There’s something for all ages at the library!” is a phrase Melody Coates, Merced County Library youth staff member, hears regularly in a happily surprised tone.

It’s that surprise that public libraries are trying to eliminate – especially during National Library Card Sign-Up Month, this September. This year’s theme is “Check Us Out, We’re Incredible,” and features a partnership between the American Library Association and Disney’s Incredibles movie.

What makes the Merced County Library incredible is not just the monetary value of your free library card (which you can calculate at www. ilovelibraries.org), but the transformative value it offers.

In one day you can see your child’s eyes light up at Storytime, conduct a business start-up meeting, check out an ebook on the 3M Cloud app, listen to an audiobook during your commute, learn Microsoft Excel, experience Virtual Reality, attend a cultural event, research a paper online, trace your genealogy, write your resume, speak to Los Banos Library’s Veterans Resource Center staff, find a meaningful volunteer opportunity and connect with a library team who cares!

We hear many life-changing stories, but one of the most poignant came from a literacy tutor Diane Penders, in the Read to Succeed Adult Literacy Program at Merced’s Main Library.

“There was a student who struggled with learning disabilities,” said Diane. “She worked hard and continued to attend the free tutoring sessions over several years. There were breaks in her learning caused by family and health problems, but she always came back.

“She lived with her daughter and grandchildren and was responsible for after-school care.”

After one Literacy event, she told Diane that she “now knew what her grandchildren’s grades and report cards meant. No more sneaking poor grades past this Grandma.”

This woman’s efforts to improve her life began to transform the lives of her family’s third generation.

Transforming lives is what Merced County Library is all about. That could mean equal access to technology, workshops, partner engagement, online connections to business, career enhancement, educational and enrichment resources, or ordering materials from one 118 member libraries in the San Joaquin Valley Library System.

One of our goals during September is to put library cards into the hands of every Merced County Office of Education Head Start student, and we’re getting help through the Literacy Coalition of Merced County and Merced County Office of Education. We’re also introducing Zip Books through a state and Califa grant that replaces interlibrary loans. An interlibrary book is delivered directly to your door. Incredible, right!

The book is then added to our collection upon return. Please contact a library staff member for guidelines and restrictions, but this is just one of our many innovative services!

Check us out online at www.mercedcounty library.org or visit a library during our Open Houses from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sept. 8 (Atwater, Le Grand Literacy, Merced, Snelling or Winton); Sept. 15 (Delhi, Hilmar and Livingston); and Sept. 22 (Dos Palos, Gustine, Los Banos and Santa Nella). Or join us for free family activities and giveaways; get or show your library card then enter to win an Incredibles book and DVD sponsored by our Friends of the Merced County Libraries.

You can always tell us how the library can better serve you by filling out a Zip Books form. See for yourself that there’s truly something Incredible for all ages at the Merced County Library!

By Sara Brown is the Deputy Merced County Librarian.

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