If you loved the feel and smell of old fabric and leather book covers, and were comforted by the creaks of uneven wood floors, you’ve got to see what’s new at today’s libraries! You’ll marvel at the sleek shelves, computer clusters, media centers, coffee shops, huge windows and meeting/learning rooms.

Far from becoming extinct, as some short-sighted prognosticators guessed, libraries have evolved into interconnected digital-age facilities. These virtual and community centers of learning have become inter-generational, multi-cultural gathering places, with 24-hour access via the internet to places far and wide.

Beyond housing book and media collections, library programs help kids learn to read, seniors find services, and adults navigate computers.  Libraries feature art shows and gardens and sculptures. They host cultural events, operate bookstores, provide computer and Wi-Fi, home delivery, conference rooms and community services. Multi-library city or county systems make it easy for patrons to borrow materials from any library in their system.

Learn and Volunteer
But one thing hasn’t changed – libraries still make us feel good. Boomers still show up at libraries to learn, look up stuff and, yes, check out dear-to-our-souls printed books. And, just maybe for convenience, download digital books.

Boomer library lovers also volunteer. Libraries need lots of volunteers – from teens to adults and seniors – who help throughout library operations. For example, they assist in computer labs, help put on public events and represent the library to the community. Inside, they shelve books, check in materials, assist patrons, perform office and administrative tasks, teach classes, work with books, help in after-school and summer programs and arts and crafts classes. Many are multi-lingual.

So libraries – like many cultural organizations – are not only places to feed your passion, but to give back to the community and to help others learn. In libraries you participate in one of your community’s most important places for access to practical information, lifelong learning, resources and entertainment.

Library “Friends” groups support their libraries for charitable, literary and educational purposes. They help to raise money to support literacy projects as well as for day-to-day operations. They help build library collections, purchase equipment, work in bookstores and support activities such as summer reading programs. Another plus for Boomers, Friends groups are just that – a place to make new friends.

Click here for a descriptive list of and links to area libraries and their volunteer and friends pages, where available.