We often promote the great programs and services the library offers. Another role we play in our community is the idea of "library as place." The library isn't just books and programs, it's also a destination. Library user Jenna describes how using the library brought her closer to her new community when she moved to town several years ago.
"During the last month of 2004, I was new in town and didn’t know a soul. I’d moved from the west coast and the changes were remarkable. Charlotte had a winter that year that was bitter and dormant. The cold pushed most people inside and in my new home, I sought the comfort of community. The Plaza Midwood branch of the Charlotte Mecklenburg library became a touchstone for that feeling — the first place where I felt at home.
Ms. Elizabeth was one of the first people to notice that I was a new face in the neighborhood. She greeted me as I’d strolled through with an armful of books, and would sometimes comment that she’d seen me walking with my dogs on those brittle cold days when so few ventured out.
Libraries have always meant a lot to me. From the time I was young, I learned to read in the kid’s room of my local branch. The love affair with libraries endures year after year. Even with our answers-on-demand technology, I continue to find curiosity nurtured in the library, and my sense of community deepened.
Like many organizations, when the recession hit in 2007, the library tightened its belt and cut hours. I panicked. Fortunately, in the years that followed, the burden eased and the branch returned to normal operations. But, that got me thinking. I often take my local library for granted. This place where I’d first understood Charlotte as a community, was more important to me than I could voice. When asked if I’d write my experience, I grappled for the words. But in the end, it’s simple. The library, our library, is a center, and like all centers, it sits at the heart and soul of what I call home."