At one time, libraries offered us a sanctuary; a quiet place where we could go and hide away for a short time, to get lost in a good book and dream of far-away lands, and magical mysteries.
In the past few years, libraries have become a resource for the community, some offering to help at tax time or to find a job. With the introduction of computers, it is now a place to go to get online.
And though it's agreed that a library is a great place to utilize for countless reasons, libraries are not created equal. They provide patrons with the essentials, but they each have qualities that make their resources invaluable to their specific communities.
In our community, we have the Cedar Rapids Public Library, 450 5th Avenue SE, the Ladd Library, 3750 Williams Blvd. SW, the Hiawatha Public Library, 150 W. Willman Street, in Hiawatha, and the Marion Public Library, 1095 6th Avenue in Marion.
Computers and e-readers are available to borrow at all the libraries, as well as DVDs, magazines, and music CDs. They all have their own calendar of events and private meeting rooms.
Something unique to the Cedar Rapids and Ladd libraries is homework help, job resources, clubs, substance abuse info, workshops, and much more.
Marion also offers a Friends Home Book program that helps home-bound patrons borrow books. The Marion Library also has a Create & Share program, where anyone can come and share their artwork, whether it is painting, drawing, singing, dancing,or playing an instrument.
Hiawathalibrary.com offers a digital web page, which provides links to helpful resources, such as NoveList Plus, which will help readers answer questions about what to read next; DrivingTest.org, which helps pre-drivers study for their permit test; Learning Express Library, which teaches novices how to navigate computers and provides licensing, certification, and aptitude practice exams; and so much more.
So if you thought all libraries were created equal, you have a lot to learn. They all provide our community with valuable resources, but they are all unique.