- We help people get their small business started, and provide resources to help them excel and persist.
- We draw folks into town and commerce centers, and then they spend their money in area businesses (did you know that the Philip S. Miller Library is the number one reason people visit downtown Castle Rock, Colorado? Between January-July of this year, the library has already 285,566 visitors. That's almost 9,500+ people a week! And when they do visit, they spend at least $20 in surrounding stores. We're an anchor store... with a benevolent [and fun!] social purpose).
- We offer an amazing return on investment. I only pay $42 a year in taxes to fund my local library, but I enjoy hundreds of dollars worth of materials and services every year. In fact, for every dollar invested in my library district, we return at least $5 in value. Magic? No. It's the sheer wonder of the public library.
- We help people find jobs. My friend Tana, shared a poignant story with me earlier this year, based on an actual experience she had working in public libraries:
I just remember his hands; nails short and squared, fingers wide and knobby, his skin thick and calloused. Hovering over the keyboard, index fingers extended, carefully, slowly plucking out the letters in an introduction to be inserted into an email application for employment, they were easily the size of my face.
The man, a journeyman plumber, was hesitant. It was a new feature of his profession to have to submit his resume and bids electronically… He needed help opening an email account; questions of passwords and etiquette were answered – but really, how could I answer the larger question in his eyes? Is the world changing too fast? How do people suddenly catch up with the digital tsunami that has swept through every industry, every profession?
It made me sad for a moment to imagine those strong, capable hands suddenly left idle because an employer’s new mandate required email applications. But then I realized that here he was, hunched in a library chair, eyes glued to the screen, brow furrowed, making the leap into the future – with my help! “Got it?” I asked just to make sure he was going to be okay. “Yup. Think so… If I need you again, you’ll be around to help, right?”