Libraries Transform

When I was a child, my mom made it a point to bring my siblings and me to our local library on a regular basis. We went to “story hour” on a weekly basis, a time in which my captivation with listening to a story read aloud would successfully overcome my overzealous nature, encouraging stillness and thought instead. My love for reading and literature followed me as I grew older, and ultimately influenced my decision to study English in college. Now, almost a year graduated and outside the world of academia, I find myself looking again to my public library to sustain my passion for reading and learning. 

Tompkins County Public Library, the central library for the Fingerlakes Library System, is located just a few blocks from the Ithaca Commons and proves a rich resource for residents of Tompkins, Tioga, Cortland, Seneca, and Cayuga counties alike. The library offers many resources for learners of all ages: writing classes, film screenings, book clubs, speakers, ESL meetings, exhibitions and more. Right now, the exhibition is: Ithaca Explores Human Origins. Last week, I went to a talk titled “The Evolution of Language,” given by PhD and Professor Morten H. Christiansen. Christiansen explored the evolution of language, making a crucial point that cultural rather than biological factors are the greater influences in language development. While this talk was reminiscent of a lecture I might hear in college, it was different in that I was part of an audience much more diverse in age. 

The diversity of people in a library is one of the factors that makes it special. I’m lucky to live in close walking distance to the library, and in post-graduate life I find it makes a comfortable place to sit and do work. There is access to computers in the main area as well as a large, quieter room in the back perfect for studying. I love perusing the DVD, CD, and book sections alike, finding much variety in all three. If the library doesn’t have a certain material I’m looking for, the Interlibrary Loan service has proven to be a good resource in acquiring the physical copy of a book or CD from another library in the system. At the entrance to the library, a sign reads: “Libraries Transform.” I echo the sentiment. 


kathleen malnatiStory and Photo by Kathleen Malnati