Beyond the stacks
The Georgetown Public Library, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2016, is more than just a place to check out books. Georgetown View chatted with Eric Lashley, Director of Library Services, about how the library has become a community asset in Georgetown.
Can you give us a virtual tour?
Well, our first floor is a “loud” floor. It’s nowhere near a traditional library’s atmosphere. Downstairs, we have the Red Poppy Coffee Co. We have a children’s room, which is loud because the kids are encouraged to play. And on the second floor of our library, where it’s quieter, we have study rooms and areas for people who seek the traditional library experience.
How many people use the Georgetown Public Library each year?
According to our electronic door counter, we have over 350,000 visitors who come through our doors each year. But a lot of them aren’t here to check out books. They’re here for a meeting, or a program, or for our café.
What types of activities take place at the library?
We put on exhibits, like the traveling Anne Frank exhibit we hosted last year. We have tai chi, yoga, story times, luncheons . . . you name it. Just about anything that the building can be used for, we’ll allow. People have memorial services, weddings, receptions, baby showers. We have two large meeting rooms with a dividing wall that can be taken down to make one very large meeting room that holds about three hundred, and then we have a classroom that fits about thirty. The building is owned by the citizens of Georgetown, so we try to keep the rental prices down so that they can easily access their own facility.
What do you see as the future of libraries?
Libraries are going to be seen more as community centers. People still want to socialize, meet other people, and share ideas, and that’s what libraries are going to be for. The library’s not going to go away. I’ll be honest with you: There are libraries that have not embraced that, and those libraries are dying. Our library has made a conscious effort—it’s our mission, it’s our philosophy—to be more open to our public.
For more information about the Georgetown Public Library, including hours and an online catalogue you can access from home, visit library.georgetown.org.
On May 9th from 11 a.m. till 5 p.m., the library will host Fandemonium to celebrate stories in many forms—comics, novels, games, movies, and more. Participants of all ages are encouraged to come in costume, compete in table-top games, and enjoy guest speakers’ presentations. Check the library’s website for details!