“The Library Supports . . .”
It is necessary to re-cast our understanding of our Public Libraries. They are far more than convenient places for books, magazines, and various electronic media, as is commonly thought. Alexandria’s Public Libraries, in fact, also provide many means for self-improvement and education, available to every citizen of Alexandria, thus supporting the “Healthy & Thriving Residents” focus area of the City’s budget. The Library supports the following:
English language learners by offering free English courses every week.
Families by offering hundreds of programs for children that support early literacy and school readiness.
Small business owners by providing individual research assistance, meeting room spaces—something very much in demand—and technology access.
Job seekers by providing assistance with writing resumes and cover letters and access to computers and wireless services.
Digital literacy by providing free computer, Internet and wireless access, and free technology training.
Youth through a variety of STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) programs and events, such as 3D printer demos and coding training
Information resources by providing access to on-line research services from the client’s home computer for subjects such as health and medicine, genealogy, current events, consumer issues, business and finance, and providing access to ebooks and audiobooks as well.
There is still more work to do:
The Library’s materials budget has declined over the past 10 years, and, among other Council of Government libraries, Alexandria has one of the lowest materials expenditures.
The Library must update technology that is approaching end-of-life, including workstations for the public.
In FY 2018:
- Over 1.6 Million items were borrowed from the Library, including books, e-books and movies.
- Over 1 Million people visited our facilities and virtual library.
- Almost 50,000 people attended Library programs, including story times, homework assistance sessions, English language classes, job fairs, technology courses, writing workshops and cultural events.
- New programs/services included 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten, wireless printing, and Kanopy film streaming.