The transformative power of libraries
As a 21st century community resource, the San Antonio Public Library is busier than ever providing services and programs that are transforming and improving the lives of the millions who walk through our doors or visit us online. As we just celebrated National Library Week (April 14-20), it is fitting to remind the community about the vast resources and services your library provides.
Not only does your library offer an extensive collection of English and Spanish language books, eBooks, music, and audio books of all genres for check out, it also offers a variety of programs for children, teens, seniors and special needs populations. Programs such as our Little Read Wagon for children, Teen Time for ages 13 -18 and Live Well/Age Smart for seniors continue to have a positive impact on our community by providing education and support.
Digital services continue to be a focus for the San Antonio Public Library. At the Central Library we will open a new Technology Corridor this summer that includes 104 new public computers, 18 new teen computers and faster Wi-Fi service. Digital lounge areas surrounding the space will be available for patrons using portable devices. This project is part of the library’s ongoing efforts to embrace the digital age by facilitating broadband access and creating environments for digital literacy. The introduction of a mobile app later in the year is another initiative demonstrating the library’s commitment to the digital age.
To expand our capacity to offer more public computer access, laptops are currently available to check out for in-library use. The library also added, with the support of the San Antonio Public Library Foundation, a fleet of iPads to facilitate programming and training for all ages. The library’s website (mysapl.org) serves as a 24/7 virtual library by providing access to an array of electronic and digital resources that can be accessed online at any time, from any place. One program that has been quite successful is Live Homework Help, which connects students directly with live tutors for homework assistance.
Community partnerships are also very important to the San Antonio Public Library. Holocaust Remembrance Day on April 7 marked the closing of a one-month exhibit of 80 Holocaust photographs at the Central Library. These moving photos were made possible through a partnership with The Mazal Holocaust Library. At our closing ceremony, we were honored to have Holocaust survivor Rose Williams share her moving story of survival and forgiveness. It is our hope that by offering programs like these it will remind and teach us about tolerance and acceptance.
The Mayor’s Summer Reading Club for children and Teen Summer Reading both return this summer. It is our honor to continue these traditions. Something brand new that we are also excited about is the addition of the Adult Summer Reading Program. Even those who don’t read can participate – listening counts too. Participants can sign-up online or in-person for all programs starting June 1.
The San Antonio Public Library’s ongoing commitment to the community has earned both national and local awards with its most recent being the prestigious Urban Libraries Council Innovation Award.
We remain committed to our Strategic Plan, designed to enable the San Antonio Public Library to adapt and respond to an ever-evolving future. Any changes the future brings, the San Antonio Public Library will continue to change lives through the transformative power of information, imagination, and ideas. Come by and see us or connect with us online. For more information, visit http://www.mysapl.org.
This op-ed by Ramiro S. Salazar, director of the San Antonio Public Library, appeared in the Thursday, April 18 edition of the San Antonio Express-News.