Open your mind to learning at the library

Maybe you haven’t been in the library for a while. You come in looking for that old card catalog only to find that it has been replaced with a computer.

No biggie.

You are technologically inclined, and it only looks a little different than a typical internet search. You type in the title you seek or whatever details you can remember, and just like that, your search results appear instantly giving you the exact location of said materials within the library.

But maybe, just maybe, your search returned “0 results” for this library. What do you do?

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You could turn around and walk out of the library disappointed and empty-handed. You might think that since it is on the computer it is the “end-all-be-all” answer.

WAIT! What about those folks behind the desk? You know the ones? Those librarian-type men and women, who, I am here to tell you, are your #1 resource for information between these walls. Can you guess what they’ll tell you about your “0 results” search on the catalog?

“You have options. Let us tell you.”

Mifflin Community Library is part of the Berks County Library System, which coordinates services offered by the 23 independent participating public libraries in Berks County. Perhaps you can find what you are looking for by extending your search to the whole system. If you find it in one of the other libraries, we can have it sent right here for you to pick up within a few days. Someone from the library will even call you to let you know when it arrives.

There is still a possibility, though, that even with 23 libraries at your fingertips, your search may still come up empty. I bet you are already thinking about the options.

Again, let the librarians tell you about our Interlibrary Loan service. Interlibrary loans (ILL) are made when one library loans materials to another library. We can request items for you from another library anywhere in the United States. We’ve even borrowed material for our patrons from libraries in Alaska! These items may include books, videos/DVDs, music and photocopies that are made in accordance with the United States copyright law. And the vast majority of the time, borrowing these items is free for you.

There are times when ILL is not possible. In these rare cases, Mifflin Community Library offers you the opportunity to request materials to add to our library’s collection. If your item gets selected for purchase, you are first in line to check out the new material.

Now that you’ve learned more about Mifflin Community Library’s borrowing services, I have to take a moment to plug some of the other opportunities for lifelong learning we offer:

Storytimes for toddlers to families-The library is the place to start building that lifelong love of reading. Storytimes with songs and crafts are geared with tons of undercover literacy strategies. No one even realizes it is more than stories and fun!

Programs for all ages-Whether it is a concert in the park, LEGO club or a specialized computer workshop, our programs are planned with your needs in mind. If you identify a gap that needs to be met, we want to hear about it. Slip us a note or fill out one of our surveys! Your input is vital to our ability to continue to provide relevant opportunities for lifelong learning in our community.

Volunteering-Mifflin Community Library relies on the generosity and hard work of our dedicated volunteers in order to continue to provide the best service possible to you. If you are interested in getting involved, even if for just an hour here and there, we have opportunities for you. Just call us or stop by and fill out a volunteer application, and we’ll be in touch.

So, if you find yourself questioning whether to go up to the desk and ask something, don’t miss out on a potential gain for everyone involved. Open your mind to learning; the library is probably the one place in the world where every question is worth asking.