Twenty-year-old Princeton University student Cara McCollum captured the title of Miss...
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How is your library helping you in these tough economic times? Tell us your story.
During the time I was job searching, I would come into the library practically every day. Not only did its valuable resources, such as job guides, resume help, etc. aide my job search, but it also provided me with the peace and mind to do so. Living with four roommates, my living situation was not the best for concentration and I often found myself needing to get out of the house to get work done so I could make ends meet. The library provided just that-- a quiet atmosphere where I could concentrate that eventually helped me to get a job.
I feel as if my goal would have been much harder to obtain without the help of the library.
Outside of the library, everywhere else I could have chosen to work either required the purchase of food or beverage at a cafe with free wifi, or a paid wifi service. The library didn't require any of the above, and helped me manage and go beyond my incredibly tight budget as a recent, unemployed college graduate. Ever since finding employment, the library has been a place I look to for furthering my education. Taking more classes for lifetime learning costs money, while borrowing a book in an interested field from the library costs nothing. Whenever I need an escape, the library is there. I have always been able to turn to it for its help, enrichment and solace, even when times aren't difficult.
Currently, I'm using the library to help better my job skills by beginning to learn Spanish. Without much of a paycheck, it's difficult to take classes or buy books to help me do so, and the library has provided me with an opportunity to not only better myself, but the community around me. While so many places are being cut back, our public institutions and resources are what have the power to bring our economy back to what it was as a community and society. These resources are incredibly valuable to individuals as well as its community.
Every day I go to the library, I see it swarming with kids and young adults after school. It makes me happy to see our youth in such a great place, as they could easily be elsewhere instead of a place where they can learn and study. If the library were to be rid of its summer reading program, what would these kids be doing over the summer? It gives them a productive opportunity to fill their void of free time during their breaks, as well as an opportunity to enrich their minds while not in school. Enrichment and learning keeps kids out of trouble.
Keep up the funding for places like these instead of seeing it dissipate along with many of our other community assets. Let's keep what we have strong and thriving so that we can continue to rebuild our community in times of economic recession."
NJ Library Champion Sarah, North Brunswick Public Library
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