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BookmobileWhen I was a child, Tuesday was my favorite day of the week. The Bookmobile came to our local shopping center.

For those of you who grew up in towns with libraries, you may not be familiar with a Bookmobile. It is essentially a library on wheels. Each week, we would visit the Bookmobile to return the books we had read and check out new ones. Adventures awaited on those shelves…from the mysteries of Nancy Drew to the books needed to do research for a school project, we counted on the Bookmobile and all it had to offer. When I was a child, libraries meant books. I loved books; therefore I loved libraries.

Fast forward to today. If you’ve been to a public library lately, you may have noticed how its collection has shifted. Space taken up by books – lots and lots of books – is now filled by many of those same books, but also by CDs, DVDs, computers, toys, spaces for community groups to meet and work, and maybe even a small cafe or entertainment space. Libraries reflect the community’s needs. There are libraries in our home that may contain collections of books (digital or print versions), music, photos or DVDs. Libraries exist in classrooms that contain books for children to read for pleasure or research.

Libraries are homes for collections. What makes up the collection varies depending on need and use. Do you use a library today in the way you did when you were 5 or 15? When was the last time you visited a library? How have the bookstores near your home changed their offerings? Do you read on an electronic device, in print or both? Which do you prefer?

Times are changing. How we read, use various forms of media, consume music, movies and stories may vary depending on the selections available to us and personal preference. It is up to libraries to keep up with those shifts and be just as relevant today as they were when they first came into being.

The next time you visit the library, look around. How have the changes in your use been reflected in the space?