Most of you probably don’t have your ear to the ground when it comes to “news” in the library world, but if you’ve spent any time online or browsing social media lately, you may already know a remarkable fact: In 2019, Americans visited the public library more than they went to the movies.
In fact, according to Gallup, which conducted the original poll as part of the Americans’ Reports of Leisure and Activities, out of nine recreational activities, which included going to a sporting event, going to a movie and attending a concert, visits to a library drastically outranked every other activity.
Gallup also reported that “the library — which is free and offers a variety of services including Wi-Fi — is visited most by adults in low-income households,” in addition to young adults and women.
As a whole, the poll revealed that, on average, U.S. adults visited a library 10.5 times last year.
I love that this averages out to almost one library visit per month for many Americans, visits that very likely aren’t always about books — just like public libraries are so much more than just the books we have to offer.
So, to put the bounty of the public library in context, and perhaps to encourage you to visit us soon, here’s a not-even-close-to-exhaustive list of free library events over the next 10 months.
Experience virtual reality: Thanks to a partnership with the Washington State Library, we’re hosting a series of virtual reality programs throughout the Valley this month. Designed for teens and adults 13 years and older, these programs allow participants to get up close and personal with dinosaurs, travel to faraway destinations or play cool games — all in stunning 3D simulation.
Check out our events calendar at www.yvl.org/events for dates and times at a library near you.
The Storytime Tour returns, featuring Clifford the Big Red Dog! Stay tuned to our website and social media for more information about dates, times and locations, but rest assured that everyone’s favorite crimson-colored canine will be making stops in several of our community libraries where kids and families will enjoy stories, games, crafts and a free picture with Clifford.
3D Printing Classes for Kids: Beginning April 4, kids ages 10 and older can learn basic computer-assisted design (CAD) in order to create — and print — their own 3D printed item. More info and dates coming soon!
Remembering Mount St. Helens: 2020 marks the 40th anniversary of the Mount St. Helens volcanic eruption; in honor of this milestone, we’re putting together a few programs, including lectures, and an exhibit of historical photos for you to explore and enjoy.
Summer Reading season at Yakima Valley Libraries: This year, our theme is “Imagine Your Story,” and it’s all about folklore, mythology, fairy tales and the power of books to spark your imagination. We’ll be hosting a ton of free, family-friendly activities like dress-up parties, concerts, magic shows, science festivals, STEM programming and tons more.
The fun begins June 1,
so don’t forget to check back then.
Around here, October is Yakima Valley Reads time. Even as I type, library staff are busily reading and recommending a shortlist of books to be featured as our 2020 Yakima Valley Reads title. You can expect an announcement about our featured author and book in midsummer, with programming kicking off Oct 1.
If you, or someone you know, has any literary aspirations, you may be aware that November is National Novel Writing Month. So, in celebration, we’re putting together a small local author expo, especially aimed at highlighting self-published and small press authors in our region. This will be a fun opportunity to meet local writers and authors .
• Krystal Corbray is programming and marketing librarian for Yakima Valley Libraries. She and other library staffers write this weekly column for SCENE. Learn more at www.yvl.org.