I am a librarian at a small public library in rural Florida. While there is a lot to love about my community, many of my patrons face the ills of rural poverty: outdated infrastructure, inadequate ...
Natalie Binder, a rural librarian in Florida notes a trend "In the last few years, several students in my community have earned their university or graduate degrees entirely at the public library."
Working through her idea, she highlights for those who will have the economic and social benefits of the library as community college model:
* the community, which will not need to invest in new infrastructures,
* parents and children who can work in the same space and break the cycle of poverty,
* students, who can choose when, where, and with whom they can study
* private and online colleges
*state and federal governments who can stretch their library funding further
She also notes some positive reasons why the library and more specifically university educated librarians are the best environment,
"But access to an educator with a master’s degree is one of the things first-time college students need the most, and it’s one of the reasons this revolution was (and is) possible. It’s not just that libraries provide reliable, affordable access to the Internet. And it’s not even that librarians are highly trained in academic research, information science and information technology. The simple fact that librarians have successfully completed college and graduate school is an invaluable resource to students.”
She concludes her post with some ways which public libraries can encourage and promote this trend, including:*research*continuing to hire MLIS librarians*keep stable funding for libraries so the doors can stay opem*build stronger relationships between public libraries, state/community colleges, MOOCs, and private colleges.*and, create collegiate atmosphere in public libraries ("Things like computer usage time limits and bankers’ hours are an impediment to college students who have jobs.")
An excellent article about an user group which many public libraries have ignored because of dated views about their "mandates" as popular collections; a user group which often takes over our buildings quiet study rooms and private/group spaces.