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Conkis: The value of your public library

Community Voice

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013 1:55 p.m. CST
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(Photo provided)
Dixie Conkis is the director of the La Grange Park Public Library.

It’s easy to take the library for granted. For those who are newer to our community, or are in the younger generation, the library always has been part of their lives here.

However, those who lived here before 1975 recognized that the community was missing an important resource, and worked diligently to bring library service to La Grange Park.

The value of the library has many facets. It’s easy to determine how much value you get each time you use the library. One of our patrons did her own math and told me that she saves about $250 a year in movie rentals by borrowing DVDs from the library. If you want to get more specific, there is a great “Library Value Calculator” on the www.ilovelibraries.org website. You plug in the resources you used and it tells you what it would cost for you to buy those materials or services.

On another level, the library has an impact on our local economy. It’s well-accepted that good schools contribute to home values, but did you know that libraries also have an impact? A report from the Urban Libraries Council and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation outlined how libraries create more stable communities.

We are experiencing many of these factors here in La Grange Park. In this Internet age, more than a quarter of American homes – about 28 percent – don’t have Internet access. For many of those people, libraries provide their only access to computer technologies. The La Grange Park library’s computers constantly are in use.

The next time you stop in, we’ll be happy to help you do a little math to find the value of your needs. And, we’ll continue to provide a significant value to our community beyond books.

Dixie Conkis is the director of the La Grange Park Public Library

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