Posted Jul 19, 2019
At some point, we all covet the top spot. Generally, being a favorite for third place doesn’t create a buzz – unless you’re a public library. We strive to be your favorite “third place.”
So what’s so great about “third place”? Third places are community spaces outside of home (first place) and work (second place.) They are crucial to connecting individuals to their communities and to building strong healthy communities. Successful third places are accessible, inclusive, and welcoming – an apt description of public libraries. We offer free access to all. Our doors are open days, evenings, and weekends. Many of our resources are available online 24/7. We partner with other community organizations to get you the materials and services you need. Public libraries may provide maker spaces, s early learning centers, job centers and even cooling centers in extreme weather. We are at the center of the community.
It seems third place is where we belong. A 2015 PEW survey found that over 90% of adults consider public libraries to be “welcoming and friendly places". Almost two-thirds of adult Americans believe closing their local public library would have a major negative impact on their communities. Closer to home, a 2019 Shorewood Community Survey found 98.9 % of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with public library services.
The impact of the public library goes beyond physical walls and collections. At our core, we are about connections. In the early days, we connected people to information and entertainment primarily in the form of printed books. Later that expanded to include media and online resources. Today, public libraries are also connecting people to community services, to technology, and to each other. We offer programs that foster life-long learning, encourage civic engagement, and provide information on a variety of relevant topics from genealogy to health care. We also provide space and opportunities to discuss important societal issues, share common interests, and meet with neighbors or make new friends. A recent I Love Libraries article described the contemporary public library as “not a place, or as a collection, but as a community platform for knowledge, creation, and sharing.” Although we will continue to offer books and other materials, we are less about collection, and more about connection.
At the Shorewood Public Library, we are committed to our role as a community connector. Our newly adopted Strategic Plan proves that “Learn, Connect, Explore” is more than just a catchy slogan to us. Connections are our number one Values and Goals. As we move forward, we will continue to connect patrons with the books and information they need. We will continue to offer programs that allow children and parents to connect to experiences that build strong foundations for school and social success. We will continue to provide opportunities for important discussions and casual socializing based on shared interests like Reading Race, book clubs, and gaming events. We will explore new initiatives that allow us to meet our patrons’ personal and professional interests. We are committed to connecting with other community groups including schools, Senior Resource Center, Shorewood Historical Society, and local businesses, and organizations to help build a strong, healthy and inclusive community. Most importantly, we value our one-on-one connections with our users. You are the reason we do what we do.
Our upcoming Summer Celebration is a prime example of commitment to connections. For the 21st year, the Shorewood Public Library invites you to meet hundreds of your friends and neighbors for an evening of music, Culver’s sundaes, trolley tours, games, balloons, face-painting and a visit from the Milwaukee Brewers Famous Racing Sausages. This popular tradition continues thanks to our community partners including the Friends of the Shorewood Public Library, Shorewood Historical Society, Shorewood Woman’s Club, Shorewood Culver’s, MetroMarket, other Village Departments, and our talented and hardworking volunteers.
So please join us Thursday July 25 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. as we celebrate our community.