I always thought of the library as a place where members of the community could go to borrow books. You could browse the shelves for a title that catches your interest, or you could chase down a specific book you'd like to read. Even when I first talked to board members of Friends of the Rockridge Library, I still thought libraries were all about loaning out books. So I assumed FORL's main goal was to buy more books to put on the shelves at the Rockridge branch. I was wrong.
Of course, books are an important part of the library. But in the three years I've been volunteering with FORL I've learned that there is so much more to the Rockridge library than just books. There are computers that anyone may use, a safe place for kids to hang out after school, educational programs for people of all ages, and programs to expose people to new experiences ranging from writing to wine appreciation to a petting zoo in the library parking lot. FORL has helped the Rockridge library in all of these areas.
I'm proud of all of the extra programming and services that FORL is able to bring to the Rockridge library, and I hate choosing favorites. But if I had to pick an area that is most meaningful for me, it would probably be the programs for children and teenagers that expose them to new activities and arts—music, writing, cultures from around the world. I feel these sorts of experiences are enriching for people of all ages, but particularly for young people. I wish my parents had taken me to library programs more when I was a kid.