A conversation with the Elliott family

Q) What library do you use?  Primarily the Southwest, Delridge, and Central branches.

Q) How often do you use the library? Generally twice a week.

Q) What impact does the library have on your life?

Tracy: I use the genealogy databases in person. Aside from geneology books and other resources, the library has a genealogy database section that offers resources where you can work at home without a library card, work at home with a library card and pin, and one where you have to be logged in at the library. The last is comparable to the paid services that run about $20 monthly. I’m adopted, so this has been really beneficial to me, and I’ve found some pretty amazing things and now have  rudimentary information I can add to health questionnaires at the doctors. We also get repair and maintenance manuals for our vehicles from the library’s online databases.

Cathryn: I love the library. It’s a great place to go and just read. I especially love the Downtown Seattle Library. It has an amazing view, it’s eco-friendly, and there’s a coffee shop (that helps new baristas acquire a skill). But not all libraries are as extravagant as the Downtown Library. The one by my house is small and quaint, but I love it all the same. Even though these libraries are very different in comparison they still offer the same environment and items. The smaller libraries aren’t always equipped with the books you want, but it’s easy to have them sent over to that location.

Libraries have more than just books if you’re not interested in reading; there are all sorts of media like music, movies, and audio books. This is a good way of having the opportunity to enjoy a large amount of media without breaking a copyright. The events hosted by libraries are one of my favorite parts of the whole experience; if the author you love comes to Washington, you can bet they will be stopping by a library.

Everyone: Libraries are essential to a healthy community. They offer a safe refuge where students and those from boisterous homes can find a quiet place to study and get help with their homework.  In tough economic times, the public library system may be the only refuge job seekers find free-of-charge resources to hone resume and interview skills, or even find materials that help them study to enter a new field or obtain a relevant certification. They are a resource where immigrant populations can get help with English skills. They are resource for those who need help doing their taxes. When the library can’t help with a problem directly, they are often the hub for pointing people to a secondary resource that can. When a dangerous heat wave hits, a library may simply be a safe place for the elderly to stay alive while comfortably reading a favorite novel. They are accessible resource for all people to learn, be entertained, and to enable themselves.

Tracy: While I have great empathy for those who have to make impossible decisions with difficult budget shortfalls, there comes a point where failure is not an acceptable option. Libraries are essential for so many demographics. Some people would suffer.


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