In the midst of getting gifts for your family and friends, there’s one resource that often gets left behind during the holiday rush: Libraries! Throughout the year, libraries put on free programs and offer resources to strengthen communities, but nobody ever gives back to them.
This year, Bookstr has excellent gifts to give your local library during the holidays.
As an institution for good, libraries are a pivotal part of any town, big or small. Not only do they provide stellar programs for all ages, but most (if not all) of their resources are free. For marginalized and impoverished communities, libraries are a necessity. With access to information, wifi, and safety, libraries help in more ways than people realize.
Some may ask, “Why should we give to them when everything is free?” That, right there, is the whole reason! Libraries and staff pay for everything upfront so that the community doesn’t have to bear the cost.
In recent months, libraries have needed our help now more than ever. So, make sure to put your local library on your gift list! They’re going to need it.
The Bigger Problem at Hand
Last month, Bookstr reported on libraries being ambushed by organized censorship movements. Since then, things have only gotten worse. Every few days, libraries are being targeted in the latest book-banning boom. This attack on the freedom to read isn’t just in a single region, it’s an epidemic all over the United States. From Maryland, to Los Angeles, to Missouri, libraries in every corner of this country are facing pressure from the censorship uprising.
This could spell disaster for communities across the U.S. As libraries become defunded, so does the public. Without libraries, you can say goodbye to free programs, wifi, and books. But why have libraries been the source of so much anger? It’s all in the guise of protecting children.
However, taking books off the shelves doesn’t help kids, it harms them. Libraries are supposed to be places where learning and education are encouraged, not hidden away. Let’s be clear, book banning isn’t about protecting anyone, it’s about erasing identities people don’t agree with.
This goes against children’s first amendment rights. When kids want to read a story featuring a queer or black character, they should have every right to do so. Just because kids are young doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have access to information. Children are smarter than we think, and we should be encouraging their interest in literature, not diminishing it. As these censorship waves keep rising, more libraries are under threat of being defunded.
Luckily, there are solutions to ensure that these vital resources stay open to the public. This holiday season, let’s show some love to the places that need it the most during these trying times. We’ve curated 7 great gifts for your local library. They give so much, it’s time we give back.
1. Get a Library Card
I know what you’re thinking. This idea seems too easy, and you’re absolutely right! Getting a library card is just about one of the easiest things you can sign up for. While you get to check out free books, the library secures more support. Library cards are an essential tool for libraries to gain funding.
Every time a person signs up for one, that data is then sent to local policymakers, who in turn, decide how much funding the library will get for the year. The next time you’re at your local library, make sure to sign up for a library card. Just by registering, you ensure that libraries stay open and free to the public. It may seem too simple, but in the long run, it helps you and the library.
2. Donate Your Books
Give the gift of more books! Libraries are always in need of additional materials. If you own books that haven’t been read in a while, let them live a new life at your local library. All you have to do is contact your library to make sure they accept donations. Most libraries have guidelines posted online to guarantee that the library receives the best quality donations.
As long as your books are in tip-top shape, feel free to drop them off. These books are used in several ways. Some are put on display inside, while others may be put in book sales to raise money for the library. Whatever their use may be, donating gives your books a new life with curious readers.
3. Become a Friend of the Library
Want to get more involved with your local library for the holidays? Then join the Friends of the Library. This dedicated group of library lovers gives as much as they can to the institution. The Friends of the Library group gives back in many ways. They advocate for safety, raise funds, and sponsor special events for the public.
Feel free to look on your library’s website or give them a call if you’re wanting to join your local Friend of the Library group. If your library doesn’t have a group, you can always start one yourself! Libraries need all the support they can get, and joining this wonderful organization will make sure that your library gets all the help it needs.
4. Donate Money
Don’t have any books that you’re ready to part with? No problem! The next best thing that you can give libraries for the holidays is money. Due to the book-banning movement, libraries around the country are facing fears of defunding, so every cent helps.
Just like with donating your books, make sure that your library accepts cash, checks, or online donations. Even if you can only give a few dollars, your donation will help libraries stay open for everyone. This vital resource shouldn’t be facing threats of closing, but with your help, libraries will stay around for a lot longer.
5. Support the ALA
During the holidays, people are trying every way to make their money stretch. But now, your gift can help places all around the U.S. Supporting the ALA is a great gift that helps libraries all across the country.
As the oldest library association in the world, the ALA’s mission is to provide leadership to help improve every library in America. By focusing on access to information, equity, and advocacy, the ALA is a top-notch program that gives all year round.
When you donate to the ALA, you’re helping them improve library and information services everywhere. Wanting to look for more information about the ALA, click here! If you’re wanting to donate to the ALA, it’s just a click away!
Have more free time during the holidays than you expected? Turn that time into volunteering! This is a wonderful gift to give if you’re especially bookish. Being surrounded by books may even be a gift for yourself, but libraries actually depend on volunteers to keep running. With diminishing budgets, volunteers help the library continue with its day-to-day tasks.
Everyone is free to volunteer. From kids to elders, volunteerism never goes out of style. So, if you have some time in between wrapping gifts and shoveling snow, this is a great way to help support your local library during tough times.
7. Shop at Library Book Sales
Every time you get the urge to go out and buy a new book, consider going to your local library book sale! While you get to buy a book off your TBR, the library gets additional support. Library book sales are underutilized resources that can help your library in big ways. All of the proceeds go directly back to the libraries to purchase new materials for the public.
Even though the books may not be in the best shape, this monetary gift holds more value than people realize. Any type of financial contribution helps keep your library in business. Contact your local library to check when the next book sale is so you can give back.
In this day and age, protecting our libraries is essential. These institutions provide a plethora of resources that many of us take for granted. But we can all show them a little more appreciation during the holidays. With these 7 great gift ideas, your local libraries will be feeling holly and jolly again.
Looking for more gift guides? Click here!
Wanting more ways to fight book banning? Click here!