Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Improving Society

The improving society thread was the thread assigned to my group for peer instruction.  To learn more about how public libraries improve society, we were able to meet with the librarian of Cazenovia Public Library.  Betsey Kennedy, the director of the library, is doing incredible things at Cazenovia.  Her library served as a great example for what New Librarianship can achieve in a community and how the library can facilitate societal improvement.  Betsey is actively involved in her community and is always looking for ways to increase community involvement.  Her library hosts movie nights, offers tutoring, and has kid activities.

The Cazenovia Public Library seeks to improve society according to the communities needs.  Inspired by Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, Betsey is currently fundraising to implement a similar program in Cazenovia.  The program's aim is to get children who don't have access to books (as well as those who do) a new book each month.  The goal of this program is to promote early childhood literacy.  Betsey was very passionate about this issue as well as informed.  It seems like she was going beyond her obligations of her library to promote this cause as well as many others.

Another thing that I found interesting in regards to improving society about the Cazenovia Public Library was the fact that there was a legitimate museum attached to the library.  Betsey gave us a full tour as well as a background as to how the library came to acquire a museum.  A wealthy man of Cazenovia in the early 20th century traveled to Egypt for the purpose of buying a mummy.  This mummy, which is 2000 years old, is currently displayed in the museum along with a ton of artifacts.  Betsey made an interesting point, that the wealthy man brought the mummy to Cazenovia because many commoners would never be able to travel to Egypt themselves.  The library served as a place where community members could see artifacts and exhibits that they would not normally be able to see.

I recommend anyone who is interested in public libraries to go and visit Cazenova.  It is a prime example of New Librarianship and how libraries have the ability to improve society.

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