What’s your Library Love Language?
February is Library Lover’s Month and we asked the executive team what their “Library Love Language” was and why.
The 1992 book, “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate” by Gary Chapman, outlines five general ways that romantic partners express and experience love, which Chapman calls “love languages.” Those five languages are: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. We decided to apply this approach to our love for libraries.
Nate Coulter, Executive Director
I think for many of us, we have our good days at work and then there are not so good days. When I encounter the latter, I tend to focus on the acts of service that the library provides for so many of our citizens. Librarians help in ways that some people may not realize and provide essential public services, e.g., Covid test kits, notary service, after-school meals and nutrition education through Be Mighty, free Rock Region METRO bus passes through Rides to Reads, and assistance applying for SNAP benefits. Licensed social worker, Rebecca Beadle, leads our Community Resources Department to aid unsheltered and other vulnerable library visitors. It is so easy to dismiss the library as a place to “just get a book,” which in and of itself is a deeply enriching resource, but the breadth of services we are able to provide at the library is nothing short of amazing.
Nathan James, Deputy Executive Director of Technology & Collection Innovation
I would have to say gifting is my Library Love Language. In recent years, the library has expanded our technological offerings so we can give our patrons access to the technologies that have become essential in day-to-day life. We have added hotspots for checkout to remove barriers to online services and resources at home, laptops for in-library use to expand access to productivity software, and we give tech cards to over 50,000 students every school year so they can easily access our online resources. Our collection, our services, and all our resources are intended to be shared, to be given and given again, a gift continuously replenished. It brings me joy when we listen to our patrons and are able to add things to our collection which meet a need or are simply enjoyable; each checkout is a small thank you.
Lisa Donovan, Deputy Executive Director of Library Operations and Director of Literacy & Learning
We hope that everyone has a favorable experience when they visit CALS (in-person or virtually), so our staff works hard to make sure that all our patrons are heard and that their needs are met. With that in mind, my Library Love Language would be words of affirmation. It’s heartwarming to receive notes from patrons about how much they enjoyed a program or to hear about when a staff member has positively affected their lives. It’s also important for us to know when things aren’t quite right so we can make adjustments. The library is at its best when lines of communication are open—establishing trust and fostering relationships between library staff and the people we serve. I strive to make sure that our staff knows that their efforts are appreciated. And for our patrons, I believe that reinforcing these relationships with positive words helps to improve the library experience for all.