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Fri, Sep 19, 2014

LETTER: Time to get your geek on

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Perhaps, you’ve seen or heard something about a new public awareness campaign by the Linebaugh Public Library System already, called “Geek the Library.”

This community awareness campaign introduces the word “geek” as a verb and defines it as having interest or passion for something. The campaign wants us to celebrate what we geek — what we are passionate about — and it reminds us that the public library supports us.

Whether you are into motorcycles, football or William Shakespeare, your public library has resources to help you learn more about it. Each of the four branches of the library system is participating in this initiative, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The overall goal is to highlight the important role of our public libraries for communities and to raise awareness about the precarious funding struggles many now face.

This is especially critical as more people are turning to libraries to search and apply for jobs and gain marketable skills. Our libraries are evolving to meet these new community needs. However, these extra efforts do not often translate into additional funds.

Did you know most public library funding comes from the local community?

When a monetary value is put on the materials and services provided through our local libraries, the total retail value for the services offered by the library system in 2011-2012 was nearly $26,000. In looking at a return on investment value, the library system has yielded a return of $11.15 for every $1 invested.

Our public libraries are something to be proud of. They are community centers that provide new opportunities and possibilities, as well as the tools to help many people change their lives. Whether it’s by helping someone find a new career, helping a child learn to read, or providing exposure to a vast array of resources, our public libraries are irreplaceable.

And, as the “Geek the Library” campaign suggests – we all play a role in keeping them around. The campaign website, www.geekthelibrary.org, lets you share what you geek and get great information about how to actively support your local libraries. I geek a stronger community. What do you geek?

Carol Ghattas
Linebaugh Public Library
Murfreesboro, Tenn.

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