It’s time to get your ‘Geek’ on Library kick-off event this Saturday
Residents of the Ephrata area may soon add a new verb to their vocabulary: "geek."
The Ephrata Public Library is participating in Geek the Library, a community-based public awareness campaign. The campaign highlights what people are passionate about and how libraries can support them in an effort to heighten awareness about the critical funding issues public libraries face. It will kick off on April 7.
The schedule includes: 11 a.m. — special story time with Ladybug Girl (registration required); 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. — community social with cake and ice cream; noon — jazz by Meta4; and 2 p.m. — Steven Courtney concert (registration is full).
Senator Brubaker and Representative Denlinger will both be there to speak. People can get their Geek photos taken from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Geek Photo Studio. There will be crafts for kids and surprise guests.
Geek the Library features local educational material that introduces "geek" as a verb and encourages the public to talk about what they "geek" — whether it’s engineering, superheroes or art. The public awareness campaign illustrates the fact that everyone is passionate about something — everyone "geeks" something — and that the library supports them all.
"This campaign is designed to provoke conversation about the vital role that public libraries and librarians play in today’s challenging environment," said Cathy De Rosa, global vice president of marketing for OCLC, a nonprofit library cooperative which led campaign development and conducted a pilot campaign from June 2009 to April 2010. "We hope it will spark important community discussions about how public libraries can remain strong."
The awareness campaign features advertising, social networking elements, a website and grassroots community initiatives to draw attention to the need for increased library support. The library’s website, ephratapubliclibrary.org, will lead viewers to photos of community members and what they "geek."
As the economic downturn slowly recovers, millions of Americans are turning to local libraries for educational opportunities, job-searching resources and entertainment. The increased demand for library services is taking a toll on libraries already experiencing flat or decreasing budgets. And state and local cuts are impacting public library hours, programs and staffing, forcing some libraries to close indefinitely.
While most people have visited their public library and understand its important role in their community, many do not know that libraries are at risk or that local funding for libraries is heavily influenced by community members.
"The Ephrata Public Library has grown significantly in the past few year," said library executive director Penny Talbert. "We’re circulating more items that any other library facility and see more foot traffic than any other facility. If that isn’t a testament to the importance of libraries, I don’t know what is."
In 2011, the library circulated over 630,000 items, a number equivalent to every single item in the library leaving and returning to the library over six times. "Walk into our door," said Talbert, "and see what is happening. We’re more than a library, more than a community center… we have become a destination in our community." More GEEK, page A6